When considering solar power for your new home, you want to ensure you get it right from the get go. A new home build provides the chance to optimise your set up, but you want to ensure you have done your homework. You can do this by making sure you have consulted with your builder, architect and solar expert during the planning process which will allow you to avoid common installation issues or roadblocks and Westsun Solar is here to help!
Below are Westsun Solar’s tips for navigating your way to a sunny future in your new home.
The first thing you will need to do is check with your home builder that your roof has enough space to fit solar panels on it. Surprisingly, even in this day and age with an all-electric future upon us there are still developers and home builders getting away with ‘slender roof houses’ without provision to support solar resources.
The good news is that if your new home needs roof modifications during the planning stage, it can easily be included as a build contract variation which usually costs a few hundred dollars.
Moreover, another great thing to discuss with your solar experts and architect is tailoring the design to your roof. They can help identify possible shading issues from neighbouring properties, as well as solutions for optimal placement of skylights, ventilation, antennas etc on other areas of your roof line.
Westsun Solar suggest getting your roof spaces supported for panels so North, East, West and South. This means you’re not limited to the size of the system you can have installed. A 13kW system can fit 32 solar panels which will help you produce more electricity in cooler months whilst charging your battery and electric vehicle.
At Westsun Solar we advise pre-installing your solar system wiring whilst your home is under construction. We can pre-wire the house for solar, meeting all solar CEC standards, before the walls have been gyp-rocked. This is much simpler and more cost-effective to do at the beginning of the build rather than after, it also ensures there are no visible cables in your home.
A few things you should be aware of:
- Solar cable can run up to 600V DC in your home and are live at all times, except for when you switch your solar panels off or the sun goes down, and they can’t be protected by a safety switch or circuit breaker
- Due to this, strict regulations are implemented on how and where to run solar cables and they must be protected by specific heavy duty solar conduit. It is important to note that not all electricians or builders are across these industry standards as they are not necessarily ‘solar experts’
- Westsun Solar recommend engaging a CEC approved electrician to do your pre-wiring. By doing so you can ensure it’s compliant which will avoid any extra costs that can crop up when mistakes are made
- It helps to know which solar system you plan on installing on your home before wiring, it ensures correct cables are laid
Switchboard, Inverter and Battery
- The good thing with solar panels on a new build is you have the chance to decide where all your services will be located. Westsun Solar’s advice is to position the inverter as close to the switchboard as possible. We usually suggest placing them on a southern wall or inside of your garage, which can also be a great spot for a battery in the future
- Your monitoring system will need a data connection and the internet which can be connected via wi-fi or a LAN cable. Hard wiring is usually preferred due to the unreliability of wi-fi, which is why we recommend running a data cable to the switchboard/inverter location. This way you are pre-wired for the day of installation and your system can be connected to the internet
- Westsun Solar can help get a pre approval once your block has been cleared
Type of Inverter
- Westsun Solar design solar systems based on our customers current and future needs. Most of our clients like to stick with reputable brands as you can AC couple a battery like Tesla’s Powerwall or Sonnen. We also have DC hybrid inverters however, they only come in single phase and are not as popular due to higher costs
Switchboard and Three Phase Power
In the not too distant future you will most likely add big appliances to your home and with this in mind it makes sense for you to install a bigger switchboard with more breakers and greater capacity than you currently need. It will definitely save you lots of money down the track, as replacing a switchboard can be a costly exercise.
Whilst it is common for most homes to run on single phase power, there is no limit to how much solar a 10kW solar system can export to the grid, and hence how much you can on your electricity bill. To put it simply, if you have the option to install three phase power, even in a modest home it opens up the opportunity to generate more power and savings, given the current feed in tariff. You will also be generating enough extra energy to charge larger appliances in the future.
It is also wise for you to consider laying three phase cabling from your switchboard to wherever you would place a charger for your EV. It won’t be long before this becomes a reality for most of us, and it will cost a lot less than installing cables at a later date.
Safety and Scaffolding
At Westsun Solar we take safety very seriously, if you are building a multi story property it’s a good idea to ask your builder to allow the solar company on site to install your panels while the scaffold is up as it is not always possible to add scaffolding after handover.
Electric Vehicle (EV)
With more electric vehicles coming into the market it is only a matter of time before you will have one parked in your garage. In terms of of future proofing for and electric vehicle the majority of wall chargers work similar and require the same AC cabling. When you charge your car if the sun is shining your solar will look to charge your car before exporting to the grid therefore filling your car from the sun. It is best to let your builder know that you’d like a provision for a future electric vehicle which can be done during the building process.
Timing and STC’s
When you install your solar system will influence the STC rebate which in turn can influence your system cost. The STC’c are only created once the system is fully installed and operating and will reduce the cost of your installed solar system.
On the 1st of January every year the STC prices change. Next years change will see the average cost of a solar system rise by about $400, meaning a system that would cost you $4,000 will now cost you $4,400.
You will be pleasantly surprised with your solar system performance and savings. And to find out more on installing solar on your new home in Perth, Westsun Solar is ready to help you achieve the benefits of building a solar-ready property.
To find out more please do not hesitate to contact us, we look forward to hearing from you!