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Solar panels on home rooftop

Choosing the right solar system

Kicking off your journey with solar is both exciting and overwhelming, so here’s our simple guide to choosing the right system.

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Solar panels rooftops

Let’s start with the basics — your roof.

Most home roofs are a great fit for solar (while it can be a little tricky for apartments). It’s all about the roof when it comes to solar, so let’s look at some key areas for you to get started.

What type of roof do you have? Did you know that the type of roof you have can make a difference to your quote? Make sure you make a note on whether you have a tin, tile, concrete, composite, or metal roof. This will help your solar installer give you an appropriate quote.

Is there enough space on your roof? Space on your roof can tell you what size solar system you can get. A larger one could lead to you benefitting from a feed-in tariff (more on that later). If you’re getting a smaller system, have a chat prior to installation to confirm your system is one designed for maximum self-consumption, rather than exporting excess energy to the power grid.

Solar in sunlight

Sunlight & angle

Now that you’ve got a basic overview of your roof, let’s dive into a few details.

Is there a lot of shade covering your roof? Shadows can impact the performance of your panels — how much this affects your solar performance will depend on several factors. Having a solar installer look at your surroundings will help give them form a better understanding of the energy performance opportunity.

Which way does your roof face? You ideally want to capture as much sun as possible when working on the placement of your panels. North-facing roofs in Australia usually perform the best for capturing sunlight. West-facing roofs can be less effective - however, you could look at pitching panels against the slope of your roof. This will ultimately help make up for a lack in output. As always, talk to an installer so they can offer you expert advice that fits your situation.

Dad and son doing laundry

Understanding energy consumption

Now that you have looked at your roof, the next thing on your list should be to check on your electricity consumption. Why? Simple. It’ll help you figure out how big or small of a system you’ll need.

How much electricity are you consuming? Look at your average daily usage in kWh (kilowatt-hours). This is normally found on your electricity bill. If you’re struggling with this step, call your electricity retailer to confirm. This could also differ seasonally, so take into account bills from different time periods throughout the last year.

Why does this matter to you? You’re going to want a solar system that truly works best for your home and family’s consumption needs. While sustainability is important, you also want to be making a return on your long-term investment. Knowing your energy comsumption will help you choose the right size system, and know what you stand to gain. You can confirm this by chatting to your solar retailer.

Shaking hands in front of solar panels

Getting the best quote from a solar retailer

The final step to finding the best solar system for you is reaching out to the experts. Going through the above steps can make this process a lot smoother for both your future solar retailer and you. They can confirm your roof assessments and also estimate what system size will work best to cover your consumption.

You could also ask about the potential of a solar battery to store excess energy during peak and off-peak times.

Always make sure your solar retailer is Clean Energy Council Approved with the appropriate accreditations.

Man checking his battery

Making money off your solar

If you’re looking at getting a larger system, there’s a high possibility of you consuming less energy than your system generates. This means you’ll have more energy to spare — leaving you with additional options.

Feed-in Tariff With excess power comes responsibility (that’s rewarded!). Your electricity retailer may often pay you a feed-in tariff if excess power is generated and sent back to the grid for consumption. This can vary across states and retailers, and we recommend that you talk with your electricity retailer about a potential deal. You might also consider switching electricity retailers if there’s another that provides a better rate for solar system owners.

Solar Battery If you’ve noticed dropouts in electricity or simply want to have a backup in case of an emergency, solar batteries can be a good investment. This could be a future plan — talk to your solar retailer for more information or advice on what the best move for you would be.