Gold Coast Solar Advice

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Gold Coast Solar Advice

Integrating solar power into your new build or home renovation.


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The task of building your dream home or undertaking a major renovation to your existing residence consumes a lot of time and energy. We know, we get it! There are so many things to be planned and incorporated; builders, design, contractors, interiors, landscaping the list goes on… 

Considerations can easily slip through cracks during the decision-making process. Planning for an energy efficient home during the initial stages of consultations and drafting can greatly benefit your site design and energy efficiency rating. The minimum energy efficiency rating for new homes on the Gold Coast and surrounding areas of South East Queensland is 6 stars. There are a multitude of styles and features that can be incorporated into your homes design to build a better energy performance rating. Home solar energy systems offer an additional credit of 1 star. 

A new build or renovation offers an opportunity to optimise your homes sustainability. Planning a solar panel system into the initial design with your architect and or builder in consultation with a qualified Clean Energy Council Solar Designer will help eliminate common installation issues. 

 

ROOF DESIGN  

The way the block is shaped and positioned can have varying impacts on your solar home systems efficiency. Its orientation will influence the position and angle your home is ultimately designed and built. The outcome here will indirectly impact the suitability of your solar panel system; it’s orientation and installation. 

Shade. Solar does not like shade! Whether from a tree, neighbouring double or multi-story building the casting of a shadow on any solar panel will reduce its productivity. Even partial shading during the day will reduce energy generation. 

The roof design is crucial however must replicate the homes overall sustainability in order to meet the energy efficiency rating. For optimum sun exposure solar panels should ideally be positioned in a northerly direction. If your property faces east or west, panels will still generate good yields. 

We understand you can’t design your new home around solar, however there are a few little factors that may help the process flow a little smoother!

 

  • Plan locations of antennas and satellite dishes to be on your southern roof. 
  • Position skylights, ventilation pipes and other obstructions to be away from solar friendly roof spaces. 
  • Minimise shading that may affect your solar panel production. 

 

FUTURE PROOF YOUR ELECTRICITY SUPPLY 

Electricity is supplied seamlessly to your home via a single or three phase connection. It makes perfect sense upgrading to 3 phase power supply right from the beginning. Why not future proof your home for inevitable expansion; with the capability of adding battery packs and powering electric vehicles. 

There are evident benefits to a 3 phase power supply especially when adding a solar power system to your home in South East Queensland. If you live on the Gold Coast, Brisbane or surrounding areas you can maximise your 3 phase power supply by installing a 15kW inverter. No export limitations, any excess power produced not consumed within the property first; can be sold back to the grid! We advise discussing this with your retailer and securing a feed in tariff rate prior to installation. 

Energex guidelines stipulate if you have a single phase power supply the maximum inverter capacity that can be installed is 10kW, however you will be export limited to 5kW. If you were to install a 5kW inverter you are guaranteed full export back to the grid. 

Essential Energy, the local distributor for northern New South Wales; conduct stringent technical assessments on the effects solar power systems will have on their local network. Implementing strict export limitation parameters dependant on geographic settings, rural and urban density areas. We can advise but can-not guarantee any outcome after submitting a connection request. It really comes down to the technical assessment process.

 

 

PRE-WIRING 

We strongly recommend pre-wiring your solar installation at rough-in stage. If your new build is off the ground, framework complete trusses up and gyprock not yet sheeted now is the perfect time to run conduit and cable through your walls. Keeping the aesthetics of your new home is our main priority. 

If your roof is fitted at this time, we can also install the solar panels. Post this we will not be required onsite again until your electrician has connected permanent power. On advisement of this we will re-visit site to mount your inverter, test and commission your system. 

Even if you are not quite ready to add a solar power system to your new home you should consider having conduit run through the external cavity walls from switchboard location or inverter location if known into your roof space in preparation for your upcoming project; especially if it is a complex build. At 4shore, the cost of any pre-wire is deducted from the total cost of your solar power system if purchased within the same calendar year. 

 

AESTHETICS

A great solution for residential homes is the Ultra-Black system. A seamless solution for the modern build. The aesthetics of any home solar system is often overlooked. The Ultra-Black Package is an all-black sophisticated package. The mounting hardware, rail, isolators and panels are black. 

Pre-wiring is a crucial part of building an aesthetically pleasing solar panel system. Running ugly conduit down external walls of a beautiful new home is heart breaking. Not only for us but the homeowner. We take as much pride in our work as you would of your newly built home. 

Discussions should be had with your solar installation company about the overall look of your solar system. In particular, minimising the use of ‘ugly’ tilt frame systems and the colour of the solar panel; cell, frame and backing sheet. The location of the inverter is another important talking point.

 

 

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO ACCOUNT FOR …

  • Building a new home gives you the opportunity to decide where your services will be located. Inverters are usually located within close proximity to your switchboard. Ideally, we suggest installing inside your garage. If batteries are something you are potentially going to explore in the future; once pricing and advancements are made than consider a space which will cater for this to be retro-fitted. 
     
  • Be aware there are stringent guidelines regulating the installation of switchboards, directly their location. Discuss this compliance issue with your contracted electrician. 
     
  • ‚ÄčAdvise your retailer that you require a solar-ready meter to be installed. This will eliminate the costs of the solar meter upgrade from the outset. Discuss this with your contracted electrician and make sure it is duly noted on his advisory paperwork to the distributor. 
     
  • Wi-fi connections are required for your home solar systems monitoring application. If the base of your modem is particularly far from your inverter location, consider installing a quality wi-fi extender within the property. Alternatively, be quoted on a CAT5 data cable alleviating any connection dropouts caused by signal loses or the ever occurrent password reset! 

 

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Posted in: Gold Coast Solar Advice at 12 March 21