Solar for households

Get government-backed guidance about rooftop solar for your home, including what to consider when buying a rooftop solar and battery system.

Solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity available.

This guide will help you learn about rooftop solar power (also called photovoltaics or solar PV).

This guide does not include information about solar hot water systems. You can learn more about different types of hot water systems on energy.gov.au

The benefits of solar

Installing rooftop solar can: 

  • reduce your household electricity bills
  • protect you from electricity price rises
  • reduce the cost of charging an electric vehicle
  • help reduce the cost of getting off gas (and eliminate gas bills altogether)
  • significantly reduce your household greenhouse gas emissions.

The cost of solar

How much you will pay for a rooftop solar system depends on a range of factors including: 

  • the solar system’s size
  • the brand and quality of the hardware components
  • the quality of the installation and level of after-sales service
  • challenges to installation, such as a steep roof, difficult access or a multi-storey building
  • extras that might be needed, such as an upgraded switchboard, rack mounting or extended cabling
  • adding a battery, which can be a large upfront cost.

You can get a personalised cost and savings estimate using the SunSPOT solar and battery calculator.

Solar system size

The best rooftop solar system size for your household depends on how much electricity you use, when you use it, your budget, and the amount of sunny roof area available for the solar panels. In some areas, regulations may also limit the system size.

You can get a suggested system size for your home using the SunSPOT solar and battery calculator. For household users, SunSPOT suggests a system size that will pay for itself in approximately 5 years, if possible. The actual payback period depends on many factors, including weather, maintenance costs and future electricity prices.

SunSPOT

The SunSPOT solar and battery calculator

You can get an independent estimate of a suitable solar system size for your home with the SunSPOT solar and battery calculator. It estimates the system cost, the savings to be made, and the likely time it might take to payback the upfront cost (the payback period).  

The Australian Government is a partner of the SunSPOT project. The SunSPOT calculator is designed to help households. Your information will not be passed on to any third parties.   

Find an electricity bill and get your free solar and battery estimate now with SunSPOT

Steps to getting solar

To get a quality solar system that suits your household needs, your budget and rooftop, follow the simple steps in this Solar Consumer Guide.  

  1. Find out what size solar system you need and estimate the cost and savings  
  2. Discover the financial benefits and government rebates on offer
  3. Get to know the basics of solar technology
  4. Explore rooftop solar design options
  5. Choose a reputable solar retailer or installer
  6. Get ready for installation day
  7. Get the most from your rooftop solar system

If you are a landlord or you live in an apartment, unit, town house or rental property, learn about other factors you need to consider.

Batteries 

A battery can store energy for use when your solar panels are not generating enough electricity (such as at night or when it is cloudy), or at times when electricity costs more. This reduces the amount of electricity you need to buy from the grid. Some battery systems can also power all or part of your home when there is a power outage or blackout.  

Several factors affect whether it’s cost-effective to get a battery: 

  • the amount of electricity you use and when you use it 
  • the price you pay for that electricity 
  • the size of your solar system 
  • the cost of the battery itself. 

For some households, it will take over a decade for the savings generated by a battery to pay back the upfront cost. This means the system may not pay itself off within the typical battery warranty period of 10 years. However, the economic case for batteries is improving. Government rebates or loans may also be available in your area to reduce the upfront cost.  

Find out more about batteries.

SunSPOT can estimate the cost and savings from adding a battery to your solar system. 

Moving to a house with solar 

If you are moving to a house that already has rooftop solar, there are a few things to consider: 

  • Check the system works by asking to see the monitoring app or a recent electricity bill. 
  • Make sure you have the system details, all warranties, and contact details for the installer – there may be a sticker on the inverter or switchboard with the contact details.  
  • Find out how old the system is, whether it has been regularly maintained and if it could benefit from a professional inspection. 
  • Be aware that the system may be out of warranty. You can still contact the manufacturer of the components to discuss their products.  
  • If there is a monitoring app, make sure you can access it. The previous owner may change the login details for you, or you may be able to get help from the installer or the inverter manufacturer. 
  • You may need to set up the inverter or monitoring app with a new Wi-Fi, 4G or 5G connection, so there may be a small cost involved. 

Rentals, apartments and units 

If you live in a rental property, or in an apartment, unit or townhouse, there are some extra issues to consider when installing solar. Read about solar for rented and multi-occupancy properties