Published on April 8th, 2015 | by Giles Parkinson


EV-Ready Solar Suburb Planned For Darwin, Australia

April 8th, 2015 by  

Originally published on RenewEconomy.

breezes-muirhead1409108B89477C91D1C9CD77-copy-590x206Defence 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.

Reprinted with permission.

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About the Author

is the founding editor of, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.

  • Ronald Brakels

    In Australia, being in the southern hemisphere, we usually place our solar panels facing north. But panels placed directly east or west only take about about a 13% hit to output and so can be well worthwhile if they increase the self consumption of solar electrcity by a household or business. This is important because our feed-in tariffs for new solar are now very low. And now solar panels have fallen so far in price they can pay for themselves even when placed on south facing roofs. In Melbourne, which is at the very bottom of the mainland, south facing panels only have about a 25% reduction in output compared to north facing panels. And the further north you go the smaller the reduction in output is, until in tropical Darwin south facing panels perform better than east or west facing panels. The practical upshot of all this is, if we want to, we can put a lot of solar capacity on a single roof.

    I’ll mention that standard new roof tilt in Australia is either 15 or 22.5 degrees, so our results may not hold for countries with pointy roofs.

    • vensonata

      Ya, thats a new curveball factor in rooftop solar. Cheap watts means more places to generate from, means more panel production, means cheaper watts, means…maybe the earth won’t fry after all.

      • Ronald Brakels

        Yep, with storage it would be possible for Australia to get it’s entire electricity supply from rooftop solar. With electrified transport Australia could get pretty much its entire primary energy use from solar.

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