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."
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."
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.