Solaray is the largest and most experienced installer of both LG Solar and Enphase systems in Australia, and so we know a thing or two about what goes into a professional solar power installation.
Installing a solar system is a lot more than just putting the panels on the roof. A lot of planning goes into ensuring the installation is a success, and our goal is to make your decision to install solar panels as easy and trouble-free as possible
Our install team help take care of all the paperwork, including your grid connect application, helping you claim your government rebate, and arranging your installation.
Solaray director, Peter Thorne, explains in the video the main steps that go into a solar power installation:
Installing Solar Panels: FAQs
How much roof space do I need for a solar system?
Most solar panels are approximately 1.7 meters high by 1 meter wide.
If you have a flat roof please allow in your estimates a minimum of 2 meters per row to allow for additional shading from the panels after they are slightly tilted. As today’s solar panels are about 360-390Ws, you should allow approximately 3 panels per kW, or just divide the system size by the panel size.
For example, a 6.6kW system using 390W panels uses 17 panels, and so this system can be installed in 1 row of 9 panels and 1 row of 8 panels.
Allowing 1.7 meters in height for each row, plus a little buffer, you will need a little under 4m of roof height for two rows.
The panels in each row sit flush and they are about a meter wide, so allowing one meter per panel works out to be quite accurate.
Our Solar Experts have the ability to draw proposed panel diagrams on a computer such as the one below. Because we use aerial maps that estimate the pitch of your roof, our estimates are not exact to the centimetre, but we can get pretty close. If it looks like a tight fit we will send an installer out before the installation day to confirm everything for you.
Once I sign the paperwork, what happens next and what is the lead time for my installation?
Once you sign up for a Solaray Installation, we immediately submit your grid application to the relevant energy distributor.
For systems up to 5kWs, this is a formality. For larger systems, it can take a few days or more. Once we receive approval, your installation will be managed by our installation coordinator, who will welcome you to Solaray and organise an installation date for you. Installations are generally booked Monday to Friday, weather permitting.
We endeavour to have your system installed within 2-4 weeks unless you request for us to hold for whatever reason. During summer our lead time for installation can stretch out longer than this, so we recommend placing an order as early as possible to ensure you don’t get caught up in the rush.
Due to our strict safety policy, we do not install solar systems when it rains. In the event of inclement weather, we will rebook your installation as soon as possible, typically within a few days or so, but often we will not be able to come back the following day due to other installations that are already locked-in. Because of this, we appreciate it if you nominate days that suit you best as well as days when you are not available.
We recommend that someone is home on the day of installation as we need to turn the power off for a period of time.
What happens on the day of installation?
You will receive a confirmation email that your installation date has been confirmed a day or two prior to the planned day.
The installers will arrive on-site and meet with you to discuss the installation, and to confirm that their plans (eg panel and inverter location, conduit paths etc) are all in line with your expectations. Before they start on the installation they will be happy to answer any questions that you may have, and our installation team are available on the phone if you need to call into our office.
They will install the panels on the roof, run cabling to the inverter (if you have ordered a string system), mount the inverter on the wall and connect it to your meter box. They will also install isolation switches on the roof, next to the inverter and in your meter box.
Finally, they will test the system, demonstrate it to you and check everything is to your satisfaction.
Once the installation is completed, you will be asked to sign some digital paperwork to claim the STC (rebate) application.
After the installation, we will configure your online monitoring if you have an Enphase system and then provide you with login details. This typically takes a few days.
Sometime soon after the installation, your energy retailer will come and replace your meter with a new one that can monitor how much solar power you send to the grid. This is no longer handled by the solar installer, and so it is separate from the installation.
Why Choose a Solaray Installation?
Installing any product on your roof is a job that needs to be treated with care. At Solaray, we pride ourselves on the quality of our workmanship and communication with you in the lead up to the big day.
The quality of the installation can potentially determine both the performance and the longevity of your system. We apply years of project and implementation experience to our installation process and we are proud to set the standard for the industry for quality installations.
All Solaray installations include:
- Our installers are trained and supervised by our Operations Team to rigorous standards
- All installers are Clean Energy Council Accredited
- All Solaray teams have a track record of quality installations
- We do not contract installations to unknown or ‘cheap’ contractors
- The installers are given enough time to complete every job properly
- All installations are planned using our industry-leading project management methodology
- Customers are kept up to date and informed at every step of the process
- We pride ourselves on rarely if ever needing to go back to a job to fix problems. In over 10 years we have never had to take a system off a roof because it wasn’t installed properly
Do I need to tell the council?
In NSW, there is an exemption in place for solar PV systems less than 10kw as long as they do not alter the roofline and are not on a Heritage-listed building or in a Heritage area.
You should check with your local Council as we cannot be responsible for the local rules in your area, however, it is rare for a residential system to need Council approval. More information is available here: Do I need permission to install solar?
Do I need to tell my neighbours?
No, you do not need permission from your neighbours. Nonetheless, it may be worth asking them if they plan to add an additional storey to their house anytime in the future if that would result in the shading of your system.
How does the solar mounting system work?
We have different solar mounting solutions depending on the roof type.
For tile roofs, we use brackets that fit between the rows of tiles and mount firmly onto the frame of your roof. We do not need to break or remove any tiles.
For Colorbond roofing we take out the existing screws and replace them with strong and stainless screws to ensure that the system is firmly mounted to the frame of your roof. Normally we only make one penetration through the roofing to run a cable down to your meter board, and naturally, this is fully waterproof.
For Kliplok we generally do not penetrate the tin because doing so voids your warranty. Because of this, we use special clamps that grip the ridge of the Kliplok to hold the panels firmly in place (pictured).
We then mount 2 rails per row of panels and then the panels are mounted to the rails. This results in the panels sitting slightly off your roof.
More information on solar panel mounting is available here, or you can see some photos of our installations here: Solaray Portfolio
What angle do you tilt panels to on a flat roof?
Tilting doesn’t increase output as much as you may think. It mainly pushes output from winter to summer the flatter the panels are. Because of this we typically like to install panels flat to your roof as most households use more electricity in summer. It also reduces the chance of damage in high winds.
Our main concern with tilting solar panels as much as the panels in the photo to the right is your roof’s exposure to strong winds. Wind can create a vortex as it travels over tilted panels and it can literally pull the roof off your house. The mounting kit is strong enough to handle wind, but often a roof isn’t designed to handle an upward force and so the whole roof can be ripped off or damaged.
Because of this, we like to install panels flat to your roof, or with a slight pitch of under 10 degrees. We are happy to talk to you about this issue because it is different for every household, and we are willing to listen to your point of view before making our recommendations. More information is available here: Tilting Solar Panels