Solar Cash For Northern Territory Councils

energy efficiency and sustainability grant - NT

Image: samfabersf

The Northern Territory Government has announced a $2 million energy efficiency and sustainability grant funding pool for local government councils.

Aside from solar power systems, councils will be able to apply for funding for a range of items under the program, including (but not limited to):

  • Window glazing
  • Other renewable energy systems including solar hot water
  • Energy storage
  • Lighting Upgrades – LEDs, controls, timers, sensors, solar powered
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Solar powered bores and water storage
  • Pool covers

“This investment will encourage councils to move to better energy efficient infrastructure and products and will also help to reduce costs to consumers and taxpayers,” said Minister for Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Gerry McCarthy.

The $2 million is a substantial amount of money given the Territory’s population is only around 229,000 and there’s just 17 local government areas.

While solar power systems tend to be more expensive to install in the NT given the tyranny of distance, between the grant and Australia’s major solar subsidy also available to Councils, a significant amount of solar could be installed.

For example, a 99kW commercial solar power system installed in Darwin this year is eligible for 1,824 Small-scale Technology Certificates, which form the basis of the subsidy. At a current value of $37.50 each, this represents a system cost reduction of around $68,400. Councils could get great bang for their grant bucks by choosing to undertake PV projects.

The Territory Labor Government’s initiative is part of its Roadmap to Renewables agenda that envisions 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, with solar power recommended as a centrepiece technology.

Released in 2017, the Roadmap to Renewables report stated the amount of land needed for solar and storage to achieve 50% renewables would be around 700 hectares; a small fraction of the NT’s 1,346,200 square kilometres. But it doesn’t have to just be huge solar farms. Panels installed on the rooftops of the Territory’s buildings – including those owned by councils – can play an important role.

Further information on the energy efficiency and sustainability grant funding can be found here. This is a one-off program and applications close Friday 5 April 2019.

Among councils in the Northern Territory to already embrace solar is Alice Springs Town Council, which has installed 575kW of PV capacity to date. Last year Council installed its first ground mounted array at Alice Springs Aquatic and Leisure Centre (175kW capacity), adding to an existing 99kW roof mounted PV system already at the site.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. I’m just wondering, there are a steady stream of stories about local councils and regions. But the photos used are always some generic set of solar panels.

    Why not use a picture of the region/town in question? Better still, a photo of solar panels in the region/town in question?

    • The main Solar Quotes film crew are kept pretty busy in the studio preparing the weekly vodcast, but they could always send the second unit out in the chopper.

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