solar panels

A home renovation provides the perfect opportunity to maximise your home’s sustainability, and energy efficiency. There are a multitude of features that you can incorporate into a renovation to make your home more environmentally friendly, and one of these is a solar system. Going solar will optimise energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint, but it also offers significant savings on energy costs and improves the value of your property!

Here’s a few tips on how to prepare for a solar system in your home renovation.

Discuss Solar With Your Builder

Be upfront with your chosen builder and tell them your plans for solar from the beginning. Ask if they have experience with solar installation and if they have any recommendations on how it could work best for your home renovation. Most innovative and environmentally conscious builders will have a good understanding of the impact that solar can have on the both the environment and your energy efficiency and will be happy to discuss the options with you. 

Consider the Roof Design and Materials

The roof is the ideal place to install solar panels due to its vast exposure to the sun and also because it can hide the panels from sight. However, not every roof is suitable for solar. Your builder will have to consider the materials and design of your new roof. We understand that it isn’t possible to design your home extension around a solar system, but there are a couple of things to think about which may make the solar process smoother.

  • Position any skylights, ventilation pipes, or other obstructions away from solar friendly roof spaces.
  • Minimise shading that may impact your solar panels. Even partial shading during the day will reduce energy generation.

Upgrade Your Electricity Supply

Depending on where you live, your home may be fed by single-phase or 3-phase electrical connection (most homes have single-phase connections). To install a solar system for a single-phase connection, a single-phase solar inverter should be installed. For a 3-phase connection, there are a number of options. In most cases the simplest option is to get a 3-phase inverter. Often, tighter solar system size limits are placed on homes with single-phase connections than those with 3-phase connections. It makes sense to upgrade to 3-phase power supply right from the beginning of your renovation. This can future proof your home by giving you the capability of adding battery packs and powering electric vehicles.

Pre-Wire Your System

It is strongly recommended to pre-wire your solar installation during the rough-in stage of your renovation. Even if you are not ready to add a solar power system right now, you should consider having conduit run through the external walls from the switchboard location or inverter location (if known) in preparation for a future solar installation.

Select the Location Of the Inverter

A home extension or renovation gives you the opportunity to decide where your services will be located. Inverters are usually located within close proximity to your switchboard. A good place might be in the garage, especially if batteries are something you are potentially going to explore in the future.

If you want to switch to solar during your home extension, discuss your options with your builder early in the planning and design stages. Proper planning can help your builder and design team to identify the best location for your solar panels to maximise efficiency and ensure an aesthetically pleasing result.

Home Renovations – Hawthorn

Duncan Thompson Extensions is a boutique residential building company based in Melbourne’s east, specialising in renovations, extensions, and double storey additions. With a passion for design and sustainability, we can help you create the perfect home that has been designed and built with style, comfort, and energy efficiency in mind. Contact our team online or give us a call on 03 9836 8655.