Aerial view of solar panels on the roof of Mitch King's house in Kew.

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In 2018, Mitch King had 30 solar panels installed on his Melbourne home’s roof. However Mitch’s roof posed a unique challenge: it was already almost entirely covered by his pool’s solar heating system.

Mitch King and his family built their Kew home in 2008. At the time, they were keen to install solar panels however solar was a relatively new technology and was far more expensive than it is today.

With solar panels deemed not economically viable, Mitch had a solar heating system for his pool, which lies flat on the roof like a blanket, installed instead.

So ten years later, when Mitch approached us about installing solar panels on his roof, we were faced with the challenge of how to install them alongside his existing solar pool blanket which already covered most of the roof.

Unable to move the pool blanket, we came up with a solution to install bifacial solar panels directly on top of it. Made of glass, these panels would allow sunlight to pass through the solar panels and still hit the pool blanket underneath.

Having never installed solar panels like this before, Mitch’s installation was a precedent project. We put in 8.7 kW of Trina dual-glass solar panels with Enphase microinverters and, in the years since the solar panels went in, Mitch has seen little impact on his pool’s solar heating.

"Overall I’d recommend the approach as a way to maintain the solar blanket output. The pool has remained consistently heated at around 18-25°C in summer and up to 23°C during the shoulder months."

- Mitch

We also installed Solar Analytics monitoring so Mitch can measure his solar system’s energy generation and how much he’s using in his home, segmented by appliance type, vs exporting to the grid.

"Given the complexity of our installation, RACV Solar was recommended to us as a company that ‘really gets it’ and they didn’t disappoint. We’re still seeing the results from our pool heating and now, thanks to the solar panels, we export electricity to the grid during summer too. At its peak, our system produces up to 63 kWh a day."

- Mitch

Now Mitch and the family are looking to take the next steps to electrify and decarbonise their home. With plans to install more solar panels and a battery, they’re also keen to replace their gas appliances, including their hot water system, with efficient, electric alternatives.

Key numbers*

Annual savings

$2450 saved each year (approx.)

Energy production

28.6 kWh of daily solar energy average produced

Carbon savings

14.4 tonnes of carbon saved each year

Components used

Solar panels

30 x Trina Duomax dual-glass solar panels


30 x Enphase microinverters

Monitoring system

Solar analytics monitoring

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*The statistics for RACV Solar customers have been calculated based on the following assumptions: the site's prior electricity consumption and tariffs, 3D modelling software for commercial and complicated residential sites (identifying shade/structures that impact performance), local sunlight irradiance and climate data, Victorian grid electricity emissions intensity factor of 1.12 kg CO2 eq / kWh, and average home system size in Victoria.