Defence Housing to create solar suburb in Darwin, ready for EVs

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New development to create 337kW solar suburb, producing 600,000kWh of electricity a year and saving Defence members more than $4.1m in electricity costs.

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Defence Housing Australia says it is creating a “solar suburb” in a new development near Darwin, with each home to feature a 4.5kW rooftop solar system and charging points for electric vehicles.

DHA says the initiative will save home owners more than $2,000 a year on their electricity bills, or around 70 per cent of the average bill. (Darwin homes tend to have heavy consumption due to air conditioning in the long, hot summers).

DHA says the new development at Breezes Muirhead will create a 337kW solar suburb, producing 600,000kWh of solar electricity a year. Over their life, the installations could save Defence members more than $4.125 million in electricity costs, and avoid generation of over 8.35 million tonnes of CO2.

The installations from Country Solar will feature JA Solar Panels and Enphase micro-inverters. The micro-inverter technology will enable will be wifi-enabled, allowing residents to monitor their electricity generation live via a smartphone app and website.

DHA Managing Director Peter Howman said the company wanted to ensure that it left a social and environmental legacy. ‘The benefits of this new solar technology are wide-spread.

“In addition to the environmental benefits, the technology and installation will reduce construction times and improve site-safety. The inbuilt technology will also allow residents to see at-a-glance, the real impact of the systems on their electricity bills,” he said in a statement.

Country Solar NT Owner Jeremy Hunt said home-owners will be empowered to take control of their future, with a compatible app that shows the user the energy generated, carbon saved, having this level of monitoring allows for predictive maintenance and even lets them know when cleaning is required.’

Breezes Muirhead is an awarding-winning residential community developed by DHA in partnership with Investa Land. Located just 16 kilometres from Darwin’s CBD, Breezes Muirhead has been specifically designed for Darwin’s tropical climate, with strategically planned streets, lots and homes that capture the prevailing cross flow breezes.

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12 Comments
  1. Neil_Copeland 4 years ago

    How hard would it be to mandate this for all new housing builds. They can’t even use the greater up front expense as an excuse.

    • Coley 4 years ago

      Because Abbots friends would be left stranded even more quickly than predicted? Actually I’m surprised this is getting approval given the Feds hostility to RE?

  2. Stan Hlegeris 4 years ago

    Good news, as far as it goes. But why aim so low?

    4.5kW systems are nice, but they seem to be sized on the assumption that it’s always good to have a little demand left over for the grid. Why not turn it around and start with the assumption that it’s better to produce MORE than you need for a house and a car?

    On my screen, this article was followed by an ad offering a 6kW PV system for $3999, or about 1% of the price of this sort of house. Why not aim for 8-10kW per house, covering all consumption and making the neighbourhood into a local generator serving the old-fashioned suburbs nearby? This would be especially easy in Darwin, where the orientation of PVs hardly matters.

    • Neil_Copeland 4 years ago

      Simple answer to your question is that you need a bloody big roof space to fit 8 -10kw on. Most homes wouldn’t have enough area.

      • Ronald Brakels 4 years ago

        A ten kilowatt system is large, 50 square meters for 20% efficient solar cells, but with a rough average of 50 square meters of residential roofspace per person in Australia, it shouldn’t be too hard to fit 10 kilowatts on if the roof is built with solar power in mind. Now that solar panels have come down so much in price taking a 13% or so hit to production by placing panels directly west or east is not so bad and in Darwin even south facing panels would do pretty well.

        • Matthew Wright 4 years ago

          Take it further. It’s quite reasonable to put panels North, East, West and South. and that’s for somewhere like Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide – And in Darwin as it’s in the tropics it’s a no brainer.

          • Ronald Brakels 4 years ago

            At standard roof pitches (15 degrees or 22.5 degrees) in Melbourne south facing panels only have their output reduced by about 25% compared to north facing panels: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2015/1/22/solar-energy/south-facing-solar-panels-time-has-come

            As the cost of panels continues to fall that hit to production will become less and less relevant. And now that I think about it, south facing panels in Darwin should do better than east or west facing panels.

            Update: I got the first figure for standard roof pitches wrong and have corrected it.

      • Sqr Rtr 4 years ago

        especially in a DHA suburb, where they bullied government in to lowering minimum lot sizes

    • Thomas Wearne 4 years ago

      4.5 kW is the limit set on single-phase installations by Power and Water, the NT utility.

      https://www.powerwater.com.au/customers/save/renewable_products_and_rebates/photovoltaic_pv_solar_systems/pv_class_requirements

  3. Ronald Brakels 4 years ago

    What kind of charging point for electric vehicles are they including for each home? Here in Australia just a normal power point should do because that supplies enough current to completely charge a typical electric car battery pack overnight, so there is no need for a dedicated charger in each house. The housing development could make do with just one or two dedicated chargers for people who need to recharge their cars quickly for some reason. Individual home chargers might only be required if people were planning on buying say Japanese electric cars that don’t accept standard Australian/European current.

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  4. Sqr Rtr 4 years ago

    too bad about all the native bush they cleared for it

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