government solar panel price

Are you here for the Government Solar Panel Price? The price of your new solar system will, of course, depend on how big the installation is. Or to put it another way – how many kiloWatts (kW) of solar panels you choose to install will affect how much it costs.

How much solar panels cost

Government Solar Panel Price

You’ll be pleased to know that prices in Australia have dropped significantly since I started SolarQuotes back a decade ago (when a piddly installation with 1kW of solar panels cost $10,000!) – particularly pricing for larger systems. You’ll get far more capacity for the same money.

And despite what you may have heard, the price you pay in 2020 for a PV system is still heavily subsidised by the Australian government-run solar rebate scheme.

The rebate fluctuates based on the value of things called STCs, which are explained in more detail on the page I linked to above. With the current price of STCs as at July 2020 you are looking at up-front savings of about $585 per kW installed. 

Here’s how the pricing works out for a typical 3kW system, including installation: 

(Note: these solar panel prices are very approximate and assume quality components are used in the installation. To get accurate pricing for your particular situation, I would advise getting 3 quotes from local installers I’ve pre-vetted.)

Typical cost of an installed 3kW solar system:$5,950
Government Rebate:  $1,665
Cost to you for 3kW of solar power:Approx $4,285

Whether a 3kW system is an appropriate size installation for you or not is a good question, but one that is difficult to answer. It is not as simple as buying a solar system that generates the same amount of electricity that your household uses. Why? It is a long answer and it’s here.

If you clicked that link your head may be spinning (especially if you watched the video of me droning on!). If it’s all a bit much, consider getting 3 quotes through my site to assist you in making a purchase decision. The carefully-screened Australian solar power system installers we match your request with can advise you exactly what you will need to buy based on your energy consumption habits and location, and provide detailed specifications and pricing of solar panels, inverters and other components to be used in a recommended system.

Approximate Costs Of Solar Systems After the Rebate

The range of prices in Australia below is mainly down to the quality of the hardware used in the installation. To use a car analogy (as most people are more familiar with car brands than solar power brands), expect the lower price range to be “Kia” level brand and the upper cost to be a “BMW” level brand. I’ll leave you to decide if BMWs are worth paying more for than Kias!

Approximate cost of a good quality solar system installation with Tier 1 solar panels (fully installed) as at July 2020 in Australia:

System sizeNumber of panelsCost Range (July 2020)
1.5kW5$2,500 – $4,000
2kW7$3,000 – $4,500
3kW10$3,500 – $5,000
4kW14$4,000 – $6,000
5kW17$4,500 – $8,000
6kW20$5,000 – $9,000
6.6kW22$5,200 – $9,200
7kW23$6,500 – $10,000
8kW27$7,500 – $11,000
10kW33$8,000 – $12,000

Note that the above assumes the use of 300W solar panels, so the final solar panel capacity may be a little more or less than the figures mentioned above.

Microinverter Cost

If you want a good quality microinverter system installed, expect to add around 20% in cost to the above price ranges.

Budget Inverters

If you want to downgrade to a reputable budget inverter (e.g Sungrow or Zeversolar), you may be able to save about $700 on these prices.

Finding the money

You may be looking at those prices and thinking: “Wow, that’s a lot of money to find!”, even with the rebate. I agree. Which is why it is important for Australians to understand the payback and cashflows involved with solar panels, so you can assess if the cost of an installation is going to be a worthwhile investment for you.

I should also point out that you can buy solar systems at prices much lower than those detailed above. But I would be wary of the quality of the components (not just the solar panels) and installation that you will get if the price seems too good to be true.

Whether you finance your system installation via savings or by adding it to your mortgage, at current interest rates, you may even find that your solar power system pays for itself immediately. By that I mean that the savings from your reduced bills may outweigh either the extra repayments or the lost interest on your savings. Again this depends on lots of variables – so do your research.

To explore if this would be possible in your situation, I’ve created a “no BS” solar payback calculator that lets you try out different options and see the overall solar energy savings and cash flows over the lifetime of your system.

What is solar power and why should you consider it?

Solar power systems are also called solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. They work by collecting solar energy in solar panels which are normally roof-mounted, but can be mounted on the ground. The solar energy collected is converted into alternate current (AC) with an inverter. While solar panels will only work during the daytime, battery storage units are available that allow the excess power to be used at night.

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Solar power has been through three stages. Until about 2011, solar panels were expensive and the payback period was longer. After 2011, they started coming down in price and today, the price of solar panels has stabilised and is far more affordable than in the past.

Solar panels have also improved in efficiency and reliability. In the past, solar panels were expensive and most homeowners bought smaller systems up to 2kW. Today, a 5kW system is about the same price as a 2kW system was before 2011 and is a better system to have because it can account for most if not all of your energy requirements. To know more about what is solar energy read this.

How much does solar power cost?*

Today, the average cost of a 5kW system is around $6500, but it can be more expensive in some areas.  For example, in Darwin, a 5kW system costs around $11,000 while in Adelaide, it costs under $6000. In Sydney and Perth, solar power costs just over $5000 and in other states, it costs around $6000.

When you consider buying a 5kW solar system, you also need to think about the payback period. Average payback periods in different cities are around:

Find out the cost of being energy efficient
  • 4.2 years in Adelaide
  • 4.7 years in Darwin
  • 4.8 years in Sydney and Perth
  • 5.4 years in Brisbane
  • 6.4 years in Canberra
  • 7.4 years in Melbourne
  • 8.2 years in Hobart

These figures take into account the cost of electricity in different areas and that is why Darwin, which has the highest costs has a low payback period. The average payback period in Australia is 5.8 years, but even at the highest payback period of 8.2 years in Hobart, solar panels are well worth investing in. It’s also worth noting that electricity prices rise steadily, so the payback period could even be shorter.

Estimates of households in Australia that already have solar power range from 1.5 million to 2.0 million. This number will probably increase in the future as the cost of electricity rises.

Many solar panels have warranty periods of up to 25 years, making them a wise investment considering their payback period of just 5.8 years on average.

How to get the right sized solar system

Solar panel systems are made up of several panels and the size of the system is based on the number of panels and the efficiency of the panels. Estimates vary because solar panels can be installed in areas where the sun rarely shines or in sunny areas. Solar panels can also be installed on roofs that have partial shade during the day, which decreases their efficiency. These are averages and your solar power installer can tell you how efficient your solar power will be in your area.

Solar power is measured in “self-consumption” which is an indication of how much energy you use during the day. These are some estimates of how much energy you will save for different energy consumption levels with a 5kW to 10kW system measured in kilowatt hours (KWh):

  • 5-10KWh will save 30 percent
  • 11-15KWh will save 48 percent
  • 21-25KWh will save 66 oercent
  • 31-40KWh will save up to 82 percent

It is possible to get a solar system that is too large for your household, but you don’t want to get a system that is too small for your household. Solar power retailers and installers can help you find the perfect system for your needs and a smaller system for a smaller household will cost less than a larger system.

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Why investing in a solar system battery is a good idea

The prices above are for solar panels only and a battery will cost more. A battery is a good investment because you are likely to be able to store energy in the battery during the day and have it to use at night. This will decrease your use of electricity from the grid and lower your electricity bills.

Solar batteries are a good choice, but you don’t want to buy a solar battery that is too small or too large for your solar panels. Sizing of batteries is based on average electricity usage and the size of the solar system you have. Batteries don’t just store enough energy to keep your house powered overnight. If you get the right sized battery it can give you “energy autonomy” for three to five days.

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image copyright Nationwide Solar Solutions

Solar batteries cost between $2000 and $12,000, with the higher cost being batteries for large systems and a large battery can weigh up to 290kg while a smaller battery may weigh only 25 to 45kg. Even at the higher end of the scale, batteries have a payback period of three to five years and their warranties are far longer than their payback periods. Better batteries have a 10 year warranty and others may have a seven year warranty. Even at seven years, you still save money since the payback period is five years maximum.

It’s probably a good idea to buy lithium batteries because lithium batteries generally have 10 year warranties and are highly effective. They aren’t hard to find because about 80 percent of solar batteries on the market are lithium batteries.

Batteries with inverters and chargers can be more expensive than batteries only. A battery for an 8kW system may cost around $7700 while the same sized battery with an inverter/charger may cost around $11,800. These prices include the battery and installation costs. Most households don’t require an 8kW system, but this is an indication of the price differences. The key thing also to remember is to know how to keep solar panels clean to make them last. 

Choosing a solar panel supplier and installer

While state rebates have been phased out, government rebates are still available. “Rebates” take the form of Small Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) which vary in price depending on market conditions and other factors. In order to qualify for STCs, you must buy solar panels and batteries from a certified retailer who will offer a discount for the price of the STCs. This discount can be from $500 to $1000 depending on the system you buy and can represent a substantial savings.

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Finding a certified solar panel supplier is fairly easy because most solar panel suppliers are certified. However, they also sell different products and you want to find good solar panels and batteries with long warranty periods.

It’s always best to get quotes from three solar panel suppliers and compare their services and products. They will give you supply and installation costs as well as the discount for STCs. Compare the prices carefully and choose a high quality system at the right price. Some other things to look for are:

  • Solar installers must be licensed
  • They should be fully insured
  • They should give you itemised quotes
  • Their warranty periods should be stated
  • Their products must meet Australian Standards

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