Building a new home gives you the opportunity to get your solar infrastructure set up properly at the outset, saving you time and money down the track.
Right now, you may just want solar panels. But in the not-to-distant future, you may want to add battery storage and electric vehicle charging.
Getting everything set-up correctly at the build stage will work out cheaper in the long run. Not to mention, a lot less hassle.
On this post, we’ll cover the top 10 solar installation tips for new build homes:
- Get a three-phase power supply
- Pre-wire for solar, battery and EV charging
- Get a CEC Accredited Installer to do the pre-wire
- Solar inverter location
- Roof design
- Solar monitoring
- Solar-ready meter
- Go all-electric
- Install a hot water heat pump
- Install electric heating and cooling
Get a three-phase power supply
Even if your new home is quite modest in size, we recommend you get a three-phase power supply, rather than the usual single-phase. Here’s why:
More solar power: A three-phase power supply gives you more opportunities down the track for generating more power and saving more money. With a 3-phase power supply, you can easily install 15kW of solar, even up to 30kW. Whereas with single-phase, you’re normally limited to between 6.6kW and 10kW of solar panels.
Export more power to the grid: With three-phase, you can export more solar power to the grid and receive more solar feed-in credits. For example, if you have a 15kW solar panels system on three-phase power supply, you will generally be able to export the full 15kW back to the grid. The export allowance depends on the network distributor and is property specific. Get in touch if you’d to find out the solar export rules for your property.
More stable voltage: A three-phase system may help your home with a more stable voltage. A stable grid voltage is better for your appliances and will prolong their lifespan. Also, with stable grid voltage, your solar inverter is less likely to trip and shut down.
Charge an electric vehicle faster: You can charge your future electric vehicle up to six times faster when you have a three-phase power supply. Fast charging your electric car with free solar power will make the economics of a going three-phase look like a total no-brainer!
Pre-wire for solar, battery and EV charging
We strongly recommend pre-wiring your home for solar, battery storage and EV charging – even if you don’t plan on getting them all at the start. That way, you won’t have to rip off plasterboard to run new solar cabling for your battery or EV charger.
It also helps to know which solar panels system you plan to install before wiring, to ensure the correct cables are laid.
To ensure you have all bases covered, we recommend the following:
- Pre-wiring for solar panels: Locate the inverter either in the garage or on a south or east facing wall.
- Pre-wiring for a battery: The best location for a battery is away from the heat, ideally in the garage.
- Pre-wiring for a future electric car: It’s a good idea to lay three-phase cabling from your switchboard to where you would install a charger for your electric car (which in most cases will be in the garage).
Get a CEC Accredited Installer to do the pre-wire
Solar cables run at much higher voltages than the normal electrical wiring in your home. In fact, solar cables run at up to 600V DC and they are always live except when your system isn’t generating power or when it’s turned off.
For this reason, there are strict regulations on how and where to run the solar cables. It’s a specialist area where safety and compliance are paramount. It’s also an area where builders and electricians may not have the right expertise.
We strongly recommend getting a Clean Energy Council accredited solar installer to do the pre-wiring for solar on your home. That way the solar wiring will be compliant with Australian standards and usable. Get in touch if you would like a quote for pre-wiring.
Solar inverter location
Position the solar inverter as close to the switchboard as possible. It must be in a shaded location, away from full sun. The best location is on a southern wall or inside your garage. Ask the solar electrician to pre-wire the mains cable from the switchboard to the inverter.
Work with your architect to ensure you maximise the amount of roof space that is north facing. Also, ensure there’s enough roof space for the size solar panels system you want. As a guide, you’ll need around 50m2 for a 10kW solar system (this will be 22-27 panels, depending on wattage).
Finally, ensure that any shading from neighbouring properties is identified and addressed as part of the building design process. Also ask the architect to ensure that aerials, chimneys, skylights etc., are positioned on a south-facing roof to lessen the impact on your solar system.
Your solar monitoring system will need a data connection. There are two options for connecting your solar inverter to the internet:
Hard wiring is more reliable than Wi-Fi. That’s why we recommend running a data cable to the solar inverter/switchboard location to hardwire the internet connection to your solar panels system.
We also recommend installing Solar Analytics consumption monitoring which is the best system for knowing how to use power in your home.
This might sound obvious, but make sure you get a solar-ready electricity meter at the start of the build. Otherwise, you’ll need to get an upgrade when your solar is installed which is expensive.
Government plans to shift households off gas onto electric are taking shape across Australia. In Victoria, the government is actively reviewing proposals to shift households off gas onto electric.
Whilst the environmental benefits of all-electric are huge, so too are the economic benefits. If your home is built without a gas connection, you are already saving around $550 per year just on daily gas charges. Factor in the bill savings you’ll get from running your electric appliances on free solar, and you’ll understand why most people want their new home to be all-electric.
Install a hot water heat pump
With typical running costs of less than $200 a year, hot water heat pumps are the cheapest way of heating hot water in Australia. Compared with conventional electrical hot water systems, they are around 4.5 times cheaper to run. When compared to gas hot water, the running costs are at least half. Contact us if you’d like a quote for a hot water heat pump.
Install electric heating and cooling
An electric reverse cycle split system air conditioner is the most cost-effective way to heat and cool your home. Ensure sure you install split systems or if, ducted refrigerated cooling, install zoning to reduce consumption.
Always buy a smart aircon system which you can control it over the Wi-Fi from work. This gives you the ability to turn you aircon on before you come home on a hot day – and it’s free because of solar!
Get in touch for a quote
Getting quotes in early on a build project helps with budgeting. At SolarRun, we can help you with all aspects of planning and setting up your new home for solar.
Get in touch for quotes on:
- Solar panels systems (and check out the rules for solar exports for your property)
- Solar battery storage
- EV charging
- Hot water heat pumps
- Electric heating and cooling systems
Many of these items also qualify for government rebates. We are happy to advise on the rebates that may be applicable to you and help you with the application process.