Solar panels are increasingly being installed by homeowners who are worried by rising electricity costs, and who want a system that both cuts their bills and produces greener energy. We explain what you need to know before installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system on your roof.
The power output of your whole solar system matters more than the size or number of panels.
The higher each panel’s nominal power rating (and actual power output), the fewer panels you’ll need (or the more power you’ll generate).
If you have plenty of roof space, you might find it more economical to buy cheaper panels with lower efficiency and just use more of them.
The panels in our solar panel reviews are each about 1.6 square metres in area, but they vary in length, width and power output.
CHOICE Tip: Fewer panels can mean a quicker installation.
An example: You could use four 250W Jinko panels, taking up 6.5m2 of roof space, to make a 1000W array. But four 327W Sunpower panels would take up the same overall area and form a more powerful 1308W array (although the Sunpower panels would cost you more).
How much do solar panels cost?
The average price across Australian capital cities for a 5kW system is $5100, and solar technology is only getting cheaper.
CHOICE Tip: Compare prices for whole systems, not just individual panels.