Nearly every roof in Australia is suitable for solar panels, but there are certain conditions which can cause the panels to not work as well or can increase the installation cost. Here’s what you should check:
Every roof material is suitable for solar, except for slate. Because slate is so fragile, most installers aren’t willing to work on it.
Each solar panel is typically 1.6m tall x 1m wide. A 5 kW system (the most commonly installed sized system) consists of 15 to 20 panels. This requires an approximate area of 25 to 35m2. If you don’t have this space available, you can install a smaller system instead.
Panels are typically installed flush to your roof. But if your roof is flat or very steep, tilt frames may be necessary. This would incur additional costs.
Solar panels typically weigh 10 to 20 kg per square metre. Any roof in good condition can withstand this, but if you’re unsure, an installer will be able to assess your roof for you. If your roof needs any repairs, it’s important to get these done before installing solar panels.
Panels facing north, west or east are suitable locations for solar panels. South-facing panels are generally not recommended in Australia.
Shade can significantly impact the amount of electricity produced by solar panels. Look for trees, chimneys, TV antennas or neighbouring buildings which can all cast shade on your roof.
If you do have shade, think about how you can avoid it. For instance, see if it’s possible to place the panels on another part of the roof or remove the cause of the shading. Alternatively, solar panels which use micro inverters or DC optimiser technology are a good solution for roofs affected by shading. An installer can help you determine if shading affects your home.
Homes in cyclone prone areas need to ensure that a cyclone certified mounting system is installed in the case of a cyclone event.