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Solar Power For A Terrace House

Author
Tom Sedgwick
Updated at
Reading time
3 min

Installing solar power on a terrace house is now possible thanks to new technology that is currently being used in over 80% of 1KOMMA5° Installations.

Previously, installing solar power on a terrace house was either too expensive or too dangerous. A number of inverters were vandalised or stolen, and the design of the building did not allow for a high-voltage DC cable to be run from the panel array down to the meter board.

With an Enphase system, a micro inverter is installed underneath each panel, which means the conversion of DC to AC power takes place up on the roof. We can then run a safe and easy AC cable from the panels straight down to the meter board.

Previously, installing solar power on a terrace house was either too expensive or too dangerous. A number of inverters were vandalised or stolen, and the design of the building did not allow for a high-voltage DC cable to be run from the panel array down to the meter board.

With an Enphase system, a micro inverter is installed underneath each panel, which means the conversion of DC to AC power takes place up on the roof. We can then run a safe and easy AC cable from the panels straight down to the meter board.

When We Can’t Install Solar on a Terraced House

Despite the good news, there are still a number of issues that can either be a complete show stopper or make the installation prohibitively expensive.

Access to the Roof

Our install crews need safe access to the roof where the panels are to be installed. Typically two storey access is the maximum height we can access, anything higher than that can be a show stopper due to the expense of hiring a cherry picker. We are not permitted to block footpaths or roads with any of our equipment.

In some cases we can use a lower roof out the back to reach a higher roof. With almost all installations we specifically need external access to the roof, which means that we cannot take solar panels through your home and up through a skylight.

Old Meter Boards

When we connect your solar system to the grid we need to leave your meter board up to current Australian Standards. Many terrace houses have meter boards that are old and need to be upgraded. One common example is that the top of the meter and the top of the mains switch must be below two meters from the ground. Lowering an old meter board to bring it up to code can end up costing thousands of dollars, making the solar power installation prohibitively expensive, unless you were already planning to upgrade the meter board.

Cable Runs

Many terrace houses in Sydney have loft conversions with cathedral ceilings. This means that we are limited to an external cable run that needs to come over the front of the building and then down to the meter board. The design of many terrace buildings makes this impossible due to access issues and council regulations. We also get a number of enquiries for installing solar panels on a garage or a roof  ‘out the back’.  In most cases, this isn’t possible unless there is already a conduit running from the roof back to the meter board.

Council Regulations

A number of Sydney councils do not permit solar panels to be installed on street-facing roofs in a heritage-listed area. This limits us to the rear roof, which may not always be the best location.

Department of Housing

If you are living in a building owned by the Department of Housing, we have found that typically they will not give you permission to install a solar power system.

If you would like more information or a quote for installation please fill out your details below and we would be happy to provide personalised advice. With aerial photos, we can normally provide accurate advice over the phone.

Request for a solar or home battery storage quote today to see how much you can save!

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