Solar Panels and Your Home

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Solar panels on roof

Why install rooftop solar?

With increasing electricity prices and decreasing costs of solar energy, now is a great time to join over two million Australian households that have a rooftop solar system. Rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) systems convert the sun’s energy into electricity to power your home and sell any excess electricity back into the central grid.

As the technology has progressed, rooftop solar PV has become significantly cheaper in recent years. Systems now cost around 30%-50% of what they did a decade ago. Generally, rooftop solar PV systems now pay themselves back in as little as three to seven years and reduce the average household energy bill by $1,000 per annum.

Where do I start?

Discover if your roof is right for solar panels with a free, not-for-profit online tool that helps you check the solar potential of your roof.

We have partnered with SunSPoT, from the Australian Photovoltaic Institute, to provide an easy-to-use service to residents and businesses in our area. Built by engineers at University of NSW, SunSPoT will help you calculate the potential system size, output for solar on your roof.

Watch the video or enter your address into the SunSPoT website and find out how you could use solar on your roof.

sunspot video link

Find out more and check your roof.

Where can I find reliable information?

The Clean Energy Council, Australian Energy Foundation, and Solar Quotes have great resources to help get you started.

The Clean Energy Council Solar Guide walks you through the following topics:

  • The different types of solar PV systems
  • Costs involved
  • Government incentive schemes
  • Feed-in tariffs (the amount your electricity company pays you for excess power)
  • Choosing the right size solar PV system
  • Things to watch out for when signing a contract
  • Installation and connection to the grid
  • Maintaining your solar PV system
  • What to do if something goes wrong.

The Australian Energy Foundation has developed a helpful guide to installing solar.

Solar Quotes website has an excellent information section with guides for homes and businesses.

Solar technician

Do I need Council approval to install Solar PV?

We recommend the first port of call is for you to call our Duty Planner on 9391 7000. Our Duty Planner is here to help and will provide advice about the appropriate process to follow for your property.

Installing a solar PV system may not need Council approval if the proposal meets the relevant standards in State Environmental Planning Policy (Transport and Infrastructure) 2021. These requirements relate to details such as the size of the system, installation standards, the direction the panels face and the distance the panels protrude from the roofline. The full standard is available here: State Environmental Planning Policy (Transport and Infrastructure) 2021. Also refer to Part 2.3, Division 4, Electricity generating works for solar energy systems.

A Development Application (DA) is required for a solar energy system when the system does not meet these standards. If you need to submit a DA, Council will waive all fees for DAs that are solely for solar PV systems. Learn more about our DA process and access the relevant forms. The DA plans can be simple and should include a plan of the property, and the location and size of the proposed solar panel system. The relevant objectives and controls are contained in E6.3 of the Woollahra DCP 2015.

What if I can’t have a rooftop solar PV system?

For tips and hints on how to reduce your electricity and save on power bills, check out the NSW Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment’s Energy Saver website.

If your roof is unsuitable for a rooftop solar system, or you are a renter, you can power your home with renewable energy by purchasing GreenPower through your electricity retailer.

GreenPower is the only voluntary government accredited program that enables your electricity provider to purchase renewable energy on your behalf. An ACT, NSW, VIC and TAS State Governments joint initiative, GreenPower guarantees that the renewable energy you are buying is helping to develop new renewable energy projects.

You will find lots more energy saving ideas online including through the Australian Energy Foundation with information on draft proofing, hot water systems, air-conditioning upgrades and pool pumps.

What is Council doing?

Council has nine rooftop solar systems on our buildings and is investigating additional opportunities to increase our solar power capacity.

Council has achieved carbon neutral certification under the Australian Government’s Climate Active program.

Council has signed a Power Purchase Agreement to source 100% of Council’s electricity from three NSW solar farms from July 2022. This is a partnership program with the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils.

The 3-Council Regional Environmental Program (a collaboration between Woollahra, Waverley and Randwick Councils) runs a suite of programs to help the community live more sustainably. Check out our Solar My School Program, and our Solar My Suburb program working to support many local schools, clubs and non-profits to install solar.