Solar Panel Dimensions & Weight in Australia: The Ultimate Guide

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If you’re in the market for new solar panels or contemplating having a solar panel system installed at your residence or business, then you might have noticed that manufacturers place physical dimensions and weight specifications on the product descriptions. 

Solar panels vary in size and weight. It is important to consider the dimensions and weight of your desired solar panel system to ensure it will fit on your roof. These details are an important consideration for determining the right panels to use. 

We have compiled all the necessary information you will need to know about solar panel sizes to make an informed purchasing decision. 

Read on below!

What Is the Standard Size of a Solar Panel in Australia?

Although solar panels come in standard sizes in Australia, manufacturers still decide how big their solar panels are and the output they can accommodate. Solar panels come in a standard 1.70m x 1.0m, with an output that ranges from 250 to 340 watts. The variation in output will usually not change the size of a single solar panel.

The standard size of a 250W solar panel is approximately 1.7m x 1.0m, with slight variations depending on the manufacturer. The reason for this is that there are a number of factors that decide the solar panel’s physical dimensions. Among these are the solar cell materials, and the number of solar cells themselves.

Solar cells can be made from monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, or thin-film solar substrates. Polycrystalline vs monocrystalline solar panels have different outputs. Solar panels equipped with solar cells made with monocrystalline silicon are generally the most efficient panels, which means they do not need to be physically large in order to offer high outputs. Polycrystalline panels are less efficient, and panels made with substrates are the worst-performing panels in terms of efficiency. 

Solar cell panels are categorised into two main sizes:

SOLAR PANEL CONFIGURATIONSIZE 
60 – Cell System 6 x 10 99 x 167.6 cm 
72 – Cell System 6 x 12 99 x 195.5 cm 

The extra space that comes with 72-cell solar panels is due to the additional photovoltaic (PV) cells inside the panel, which consequently gives it the potential to generate higher power outputs compared to their 60-cell counterparts. This is why 60-cell panels are generally used in residential applications, while stronger 72-cell panels are found in commercial applications.

However, PV cell count is not the sole determiner of power output because a 72-cell panel with a 300W power rating will still be less powerful than a 60-cell panel with a power rating of 325W.

How Much Roof Space Will I Need for a Solar System?

The amount of roof space required will depend on your household’s daily energy consumption and the size of the solar system itself. For reference, a 1.5kW system will only require about 9m2, while a 3kW system will require around 15.4m2 of roof space.

The table below shows the amount of roof space you will require for various solar panel system sizes. 

SYSTEM SIZENO. OF PANELSROOF SPACE REQUIRED
1.5kW59m2
2kW610.3m2
3kW915.4m2
4kW1220.4m2
5kW1525.5m2
6.6kW2034m2
10kW3051m2

As seen in the table, there is a correlation between the system size, roof space, and the number of panels required. Another important thing to note is that the panel’s output will also determine how many panels your system will need and how much roof space is required. 

For instance, using 500W panels on a 1.5kW solar system will only require three solar panels. On the other hand, the same 1.5kW system using 300W panels will require five panels.

Ultimately, the total system size and output is determined by the number of solar panels and their capacities. Multiplying the number of panels with their outputs (assuming that they are all the same) will yield the total system size. 

For example, 10 panels multiplied by their outputs, let’s say 500W, will give you 5,000W or 5kW, which is the total solar system size required for a typical Australian residence.

How Many Solar Panels Can I Fit on my Roof?

There is a tool online from SolarQuotes AU called the Solar Panel Estimator. The tool, while not perfect, gives households an indication of how many solar panels can be placed on their roof. 

The house roof aside, one of the primary constraints that people encounter is usually the size of the inverter. The size of the inverter that is allowed to be installed on a residence is determined by your Distribution Network Service Provider (DNSP). 

Most residences are limited to a 5kW inverter with 6.6kW of solar panels for a single-phase residence. Despite this, some households can have as much as 10kW, and three-phase residences can go as high as 30kW.

How Heavy is a Solar Panel?

Solar panels, on average, weigh around 18kg. However, depending on the manufacturer and the exact model, it can be as light as 15kg or as heavy as 23kg.

The table below shows the weight difference of major solar panel manufacturers.

MANUFACTURERSOLAR PANEL WEIGHT (60-CELL RESIDENTIAL PANELS)
LG17kg
Canadian Solar19-23kg
Hyundai17-18.5kg
Q Cells18.5kg
Trina Solar18.5-22.6kg
SunPower15-18.5kg

According to the information available, a 6kW solar system comprising 20 solar panels weighing 19kg each will weigh approximately 360kg.

Can My Roof Support the Weight of Solar Panels?

Roofs that are well-maintained and in good condition can support the weight of average solar panels, which is around 18kg. Almost any kind of roof material is able to support solar panels, but some types of roofing are discouraged from having solar panels installed for certain reasons

  • Thatch Roofs – Because this increases fire risk
  • Roofs with Asbestos – Because of associated safety hazards
  • Glass Roofs – Because these are not strong enough to support the weight of a complete solar system.

Solar installers will generally inspect your residence’s roof prior to the actual installation. Some older roofs may not be able to support the weight of solar panels, which is why it is best to have your solar installer visit your house to check if your roof will be able to hold the weight of the system. During this visit, your installer will also be able to determine if your roof has the right angle for your solar panels to access direct sunlight.

They have to make sure that your roof will hold up well and is free from any endangering problems. Otherwise, they will ask that you do certain repairs first before the installation can take place. Remember that solar panels last several decades, so making sure that the roof is in the best condition possible is key to a lasting solar system.

How Many Solar Panels Can My Roof Support?

This will depend on the roof material and integrity, the roof space available, the weight of the solar panels themselves, as well as the limits imposed by your energy retailer.  Generally, most modern residences can support more than 14 to 20kg of weight per square metre. 

Despite what it’s called, it isn’t actually the energy retailer that imposes restrictions on the number of solar panels but rather a decision made by the owners of the network that distributes electricity, which is known as the Distribution Network Service Provider (DNSP), or simply the distributor.

Limits on solar output are in place because electricity distribution networks were originally set in such a way that power is meant to be pushed only in one direction and at a rate that is predictable. The mainstream use of wind and solar energy caused a disruption in the network model when consumers became producers who wanted to feed energy into the network. 

Despite the green energy revolution, distributors are worried that too much energy flowing into the grid could disrupt the operation of existing power stations. The grid needs to stay at a specific voltage. Unfortunately, too much solar input or feed-in pushes the voltage up.

The table below shows the comparison of automatic pre-approvals for solar systems in each state and territory and energy retailer. The figures represent inverter limits.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)South Australia (SA)
ActewAGL
Single Phase: 5kW
SA Power Networks
Single Phase: 5kW
3-phase: 30kW
New South Wales (NSW)Tasmania (Tas)
Ausgrid
Single Phase: 10kW
3-phase: 30kW

Essential
Single Phase: 5kW (3kW Rural)
3-phase: 15kW (9kW Rural)

Endeavour
Single Phase: 5kW
3-phase: 30kW
Tas Networks
Single Phase: 5kW
3-phase: 30kW
Northern Territory (NT)Victoria (VIC)
PowerWater
Class 1 – Private/ Residential:
Single Phase: 5kW
3-phase: 7kW (10kW per phase inverter limit)

Class 2 – Private/ Residential & Small Commercial:
3-phase: 30kW with zero export limiter inverter (10kW per phase inverter limit)
United Energy
Single Phase: 10kW
3-phase: 30kW

CitiPower
Single Phase: 5kW
3-phase: 30kW

Jemena
Single Phase: 10kW
3-phase: 30kW

AusNet
Single Phase: 5kW
3-phase: 15kW
Queensland (QLD)Western Australia (WA)
EnergexUp to 30kW, however, all solar installations are subject to application

Single phase: 5kW
3-phase: 15kW
Western Power
Single Phase: 10W
3-phase: 30kW (8-22 kW most typically granted)

Horizon Power
Single Phase: 10kW
3-phase: 30kW

Are Residential and Commercial Solar Panels the Same Size?

Residential use solar panels are shorter because they only have 60 solar cells, while panels for commercial use are often the 72-cell variant and are therefore a couple of centimetres longer. 

Generally, the 60 cell system will have a size of 99cm x 167.6cm. Alternatively, the larger 72 cell system is 99cm x 195.5cm. 

However, this does not mean that 60-cell solar panels will always be for residential use and that 72-cell solar panels will always be for commercial use. They can be used interchangeably, subject to the requirements and needs of the establishment, as well as other factors such as roof material and integrity, roof space, required output, and the solar installer experts’ recommendations. 

The beauty of solar systems is that they are always customised for the customers that need them!

Related Questions

Are All Solar Panels the Same Size?

No, all solar panels are not the same size. Although solar panels have ‘standard sizes’, the exact dimensions will still depend on whether it’s a 60-cell or 72-cell panel and who the manufacturer is.

How Much Roof Space Will I Need for a 6kW Solar System?

A 6kW solar system made up of 20 solar panels will require about 32.7 square metres of roof space, assuming you are using 60-cell residential panels, and not 72-cell commercial panels.

Disclaimer:

This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. JFK Electrical does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. Always seek personalised advice on solar energy to ensure any recommendations suit your property and scenario.

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