Several advantages exist to installing solar panels and home batteries while building a new house. It can lessen environmental impact, save money, and raise the home's value in the long term.
Designing the roof for maximum sun exposure and little shade is crucial for getting the most out of a solar system. It may be more straightforward and aesthetically pleasing to install solar and batteries later on if they are prewired for them during building.
Choosing the best placement for the solar system's components when building a new home gives you more freedom.
If I build a new home – should solar and batteries be part of it?
One of the biggest tasks that an individual can take on is constructing their own home. This task requires extensive amounts of time, energy, and resources, having to consider design, materials, tradesperson relationships, cash flow, landscaping, and sub-contractors. There are several ways that one can design their home to be energy efficient during the construction process, one of these being the installation of comprehensive insulation and the inclusion of a solar system & battery system.
The extra step of planning for an energy-efficient home may seem tedious, but it will save you cash and energy in the long term. It also can increase the value of your home and reduce its environmental impact.
A solar-ready roof design can save you a lot of money
You must consult your architect and or builder to ensure this all works smoothly. We also recommend contacting a solar installation company and see if that company can offer the input of a qualified Clean Energy Council Solar Designer.
So the answer to the question is yes; if you plan on building an energy-efficient home, installing a solar and battery combo during its construction is better than installing it afterwards, but let’s look at why this is true and how it would work for your home.
The first and most important consideration for designing your new home with solar is your roof.
Avoid designing a roof with lots of ridges and gables, as solar panels will be more challenging to install on such designs. Therefore constructing a roof that is orientated to optimal sun exposure for your system is one variable you would want to consider.
The best solution is a relatively straight roof, at 10 to 25 degrees angles, pointing toward North, North-East, or North-West. This will ensure a solid ongoing solar output. If you have a lot of electricity use before noon – point some panels east; if you seek more available electricity in the afternoon, for example, due to air conditioning needs, point some panels to the West or Northwest.
Avoid creating a shaded roof
The other variable regarding your roof is shade. Make sure that when you are designing the roof, there are minimal trees or neighbouring buildings that would cast shadows over your PV system. The shade will reduce the solar system’s energy generation capability.
Thus, deciding on installing solar during, or maybe even better – before construction will benefit you, as you will be able to create a roof that allows for the most optimal energy generation for your particular circumstances each day.
Prewiring for solar and batteries during construction will make future installation much more accessible
Another reason for considering solar & batteries as part of the original plans is the ability to create prewiring plans for the PV system, any innovative home features, and the battery component.
Prewiring means you can run the required cables and wires through walls and cavities to the meter box in an unobtrusive way inside walls and cavities. Prewiring will avoid the ugly conduits outside the home or on the roof. These conduits are typical visual features of a post-built solar installation, especially of the cheaper, bargain variety.
Planning for renewables will create more flexibility in the final design
The final reason it is beneficial to install during construction is that it allows for flexibility.
Building a new home allows you to choose where your solar system components will be located. For example, you can select a location for the inverter that would be an appropriate temperature to allow it to function at max capacity (usually in the garage).
Sometimes the outside hot water tank, heat pump, air conditioning unit, storage battery, and solar inverter compete for the house’s or wall space’s valuable side. By planning all these energy components of the home during the design phase, the best solution can be developed, which will create the most visually pleasing and functional solution.
If you plan on adding batteries to your solar system at a later stage, you can cater for the cabling now and run the appropriate wires. Rather than creating new wire positions post-construction, when some options will be impossible due to the completion of the gyprock or other enclosed elements.
In summary, if you are planning on building your dream home and this involves being energy efficient, consider installing solar and batteries and even an EV car charger during the construction process. However, be sure to read out nine missteps regarding solar and battery before purchasing.
If you do want to install solar, batteries and an EV car charger during the construction process, at least get a solar installer to run the wires during the construction from the roof to the switchboard and from the battery location to the roof and switchboard so these works are at least undertaken now. They can cater for a smooth renewable energy system installation at a later part of the construction.