What size solar panel array do you need for your home? And if you’re considering battery storage, what size battery bank would be most appropriate? This article includes tables that provide an at-a-glance guide, as well as links to more comprehensive calculators.

rooftop solarSolar system sizing table (no batteries)

If you’re considering solar panels for your home, you’ll get the most value from them by directly ‘self-consuming‘ the energy that they produce during the daylight hours. The simple reason for this is that using the solar yourself allows you to avoid purchasing expensive energy from the grid instead of earning only a small credit for sending it into the grid. This is a crucial fact about going solar in Australia today.

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Your rate of self-consumption will depend on a few factors, including the amount of energy that you use on a daily basis, the pattern of your consumption throughout the day, and the size of the system that you install. We recommend that you aim to self-consume at least 30% of the energy that your solar system produces.

Bonus tip: You can increase your solar self-consumption ratio by running more of your devices during daylight hours – possibly manually, on timers or using a home energy management system.

The table below contains very rough solar self-consumption ratio estimates for a range of popular solar system sizes and energy consumption levels. If the cell is red, the system is probably too large (or better suited for having batteries). If the cell is green, the system size is likely have a favourable payback period (keeping in mind that the higher the percentage is, the better).

 Your daily energy consumption Solar system size
2kW 3kW 5kW 7kW 10kW
5-10kWh 30% 25% 17% 13% 9%
11-15kWh 48% 38% 26% 20% 15%
16-20kWh 57% 46% 34% 26% 20%
21-25kWh 66% 53% 40% 32% 24%
26-30kWh 73% 59% 44% 37% 28%
31-40kWh 82% 67% 50% 42% 34%

Remember: The table above is a highly generalised, indicative guide; it does not take into account your location or the tilt & orientation of your roof – not to consider system prices or financial details like payback period. If you’d like to take a more detailed look, use our Solar PV System Payback Estimator or our Simple Solar System Sizing Estimator.

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Tesla Powerwall and SolarEdge comms box 1Solar & battery system sizing table

Using Sunwiz’s PVSell software, we’ve put together the below table to help shoppers choose the right system size for their needs. PVSell uses 365 days of weather data Please read the paragraphs below and remember that the table is a guide and a starting point only – we encourage you to do more research (and get more opinions) before deciding on a system size.

The battery bank sizing table

Your daily energy consumption
Largest recommended battery size for…
Solar system size
2kW 3kW 5kW 7kW 10kW
5-10kWh
Maximising returns: 5kWh 4kWh 4kWh 4kWh 4kWh
Maximising energy independence: 22kWh (3 days of energy autonomy) 35kWh (5 days of energy autonomy) 35kWh (5 days of energy autonomy) 35kWh (5 days of energy autonomy)
11-15kWh
Maximising returns: 4kWh 7kWh 9kWh 8kWh 8kWh
Maximising energy independence: 40kWh (3 days of energy autonomy) 65kWh (5 days of energy autonomy) 65kWh (5 days of energy autonomy)
16-20kWh
Maximising returns: 3kWh 6kWh 13kWh 12kWh 11kWh
Maximising energy independence: 55kWh (3 days of energy autonomy) 90kWh (5 days of energy autonomy)
21-25kWh
Maximising returns: 2kWh 5kWh 12kWh 16kWh 15kWh
Maximising energy independence: 23kWh (0.77 days of blackout protection) 70kWh (3 days of energy autonomy)
26-30kWh
Maximising returns: 1kWh 4kWh 11kWh 18kWh 18kWh
Maximising energy independence: 40kWh (1.5 days of blackout protection)
31-40kWh
Maximising returns: 3kWh 10kWh 17kWh 23kWh
Maximising energy independence: 27kWh (0.7 days of blackout protection)

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© 2017 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

James Martin II

James Martin II

James has been Solar Choice's analyst and communications manager since 2010. He is Solar Choice's primary writer, and is responsible for composing Solar Choice's monthly Solar PV Price Index articles.
James Martin II

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

sinikk pollari May 5, 2017 at 10:29 am

Can you tell me when new back up batteries ( new technology) will be available and when the government will subside there batteries .
I have 5 ks system Thank You

Reply

Solar Choice Staff May 15, 2017 at 9:52 am

Hi Sinikk. Backup power is already possible with the right battery setup. As for a government subsidy, a few small jurisdictions (ACT and City of Adelaide) offer battery incentives, but there is nothing on the federal level.

Hope this helps!

Reply

Patrick Comerford April 28, 2017 at 11:16 pm

These tables are all well and good but when determining the economic criteria it falls apart because of the current huge disparity in costs between different battery storage makes. A Powerwall 2 with a stated capacity of 13.5 kWh and a cost of say $12000 installed compared to a Sonnen 6kwh with a installed cost of $12000 it’s a no brainer whatever else is variable i.e. Size of PV system home consumption or usage patterns. Even if you don’t use the full capacity of the PW2 battery it still represents better value and you don’t need a complicated chart to tell you that. Or am I missing something?

Reply

Solar Choice Staff May 1, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Hi Patrick,

Thanks always for your thoughtful input. You are well on point with this observation. We’ve written lots of articles on the financial case for solar & batteries and regularly point out (e.g. here) that – for now – solar makes more sense on its own. We’ve also pointed out that smaller battery banks tend to have faster payback periods than larger ones for the majority of homes. Our calculators yield the same results as well.

The focus of this article is sizing, with the aim of educating people about how large a battery bank they can actually make use of – giving them a starting point for shopping around. This will help people to avoid being oversold on system size, especially in instances when the bigger battery bank does indeed cost significantly more than the smaller one. If the larger battery bank is more cost-effective and can operate at partial states of charge (so that it’s not a problem if it doesn’t reach ‘full’ most of the time – if ever), then by all means the larger one would be the smarter choice – and leaves room for expansion.

As you’ve pointed out there are some significant price disparities at present, but we expect these to even out as time goes on and the market matures. At that point in time, these tables will become even more relevant.

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