Renewable energy

Solar panels

Over 50% of the households in our rural areas are now powered by the sun, with O’Halloran Hill not far behind at 43%.  They join over 2 million households across Australia.

The early surge in the solar revolution was from Morphett Vale, and this suburb topped the state for installations in both 2017 and 2018.   Our council area has a higher overall proportion of installations at 36.8%, compared to the rest of the state at 30%.

The largest commercial installation in our region is a 1.8 MW system at Vicinity’s Colonnades shopping centre, where nearly 5,000 solar panels have been laid and connected.

The City of Onkaparinga is committed to work with our communities, state and federal government and the private sector to ensure that we continue to explore opportunities for the city’s energy needs to be supplied from renewable energy sources. With this in mind, we are installing a variety of systems at a large number of our sites as part of the Green Buildings Initiative.

Household solar

Australian households lead the world on the take up of renewables, with over 2 million systems installed on homes.  Onkaparinga residents are proving very energy savvy with 37% of homes having solar power, equating to over 28,600 installations in the last 15 years.

Solar power is getting cheaper with the cost of technology dropping sharply in recent years. Systems now cost around one-third to one-half of what they did a few years ago, and industry predicts prices may still drop further. A 1.5kW may set you back around $1,500 nowadays, and pay itself back in as little as 5 years with long-term savings on energy bills.  Energy companies are also offering no money up front, leasing options.  Check with your energy provider for more details.


Looking into solar and not sure where to start?

Buying solar panels for your home can seem pretty confusing at first. How do you know what sized system to install? Will you need to notify your electricity company? How do you choose a trustworthy installer? And what on earth is an inverter?  The Clean Energy Council’s Guide to Installing Solar PV for Households steps homeowners through the process of purchasing and installing rooftop solar panels. Finn Peacock a respected solar expert and exCSIRO engineer has also written a book that’s now available for free online The Good Solar Guide.

The Alternative Technology Association have also developed Sunulator, a free simulation tool that can help households, businesses and community groups plan a grid-connected solar project.  The online tool uses half-hourly consumption and generation data over a whole year to estimate how much solar generation will be consumed onsite versus exported. Based on electricity tariff information, it then calculates the impact on your electricity bill and projects the savings over a 30-year time frame to help you find the system that best meets your economic and carbon reduction goals.  It also includes an on-grid battery storage component.


Can I store solar power?
The technology for storing household solar through battery systems is becoming cheaper and more widely available.  Although relatively new, home battery systems will soon become the next natural step for everyday households.  Basically, a battery system stores surplus electricity generated from solar panels during the day or from the utility grid when rates are low.   For new solar systems, the price you are paid for the excess solar power your home generates is lower than the price you pay for electricity from the utility grid. Given this rate structure, it is more cost effective to consume your solar power than to sell it back to the utility. By storing your home's surplus power and using it when you would otherwise need to pull from the grid, battery storage minimizes your net spending.  However, for those residents currently rewarded with a higher feed-in tariff, it is worth noting that by installing a battery system the feed-in tariff will no longer be available.

Do I need Council approval to install a solar system?
Most solar systems do not require Council approval, however refer to this fact sheet for more information on planning requirements.   You can also speak to a Duty Planner in person at our Noarlunga office between 8:30am and 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, or by calling (08) 8384 0666.


If you are a renter, or your home or business rooftop is unsuitable for a solar power system, you can still choose renewable energy by buying GreenPower through your current electricity retailer or another.

Greenpower is a government accreditation program that enables your energy provider to purchase renewable energy on your behalf.

When you choose to buy a GreenPower product, the few cents extra you pay in addition to your electricity account each day is invested in renewable energy, such as solar, wind and bioenergy. So you’re helping to invest in a more sustainable future instead of continuing to rely on electricity being sourced from the burning of finite fuels such as coal.  You can also buy GreenPower for events such as corporate functions, parties or weddings.

Contact your electricity retailer to find out what GreenPower Products they offer.