If you are looking for a confirmation if Tesla Reduces Solar Prices, then read further on our tesla solar panels guide. Tesla has cut the prices of its solar panels today in an attempt to halt the decline of its solar business. Its online configuration tool now lists a 4kW array of panels as costing $7,980 after a federal tax credit, which works out to just over $1.99 per watt including installation. Depending on where customers live, The New York Times notes that price per watt could drop as low as $1.75, which is 16 percent less than the national average of $2.09, and much less than Tesla charged previously.
The head of Tesla’s solar business, Sanjay Shah, highlights two main ways Tesla is making these price reductions possible. The first is by standardizing more of its installations. Customers will now only be able to purchase panels in increments of 4kW, in the form of a 12-panel array. Secondly, they will be asked to perform parts of the home installation process themselves, such as photographing electric meters and circuit breaker boxes, that would have normally required a visit from Tesla.
Tesla Reduces Solar Prices
The changes are needed to revive a significant fall in solar panel installations, which dropped to their lowest levels in six years in the first quarter of this year. The Buffalo News notes that the company deployed 47 megawatts in the quarter, compared to 73 megawatts in the same period in 2018. The decline means Tesla dropped to third place in terms of solar installations in the US, behind Sunrun and Vivint Solar, according to the NYT.
tesla solar panels
In the second half of this year, Shah says he expects to push sales of Tesla’s long-anticipated solar roof, a set of solar shingles that resemble ordinary roofing materials. The roof was announced back in 2016 and was installed on Elon Musk’s house in 2017. During Tesla’s last earnings call, Musk said that the company is still developing and testing the roof, but challenges with its durability have delayed a broad rollout.
Despite these challenges, Tesla’s solar business is still profitable. That’s more than can be said for the company as a whole after it lost $702 million last quarter off the back of lower-than-expected sales of its cars and the challenges of delivering them to Europe and China. Musk expects the company’s losses to continue into Q2, before returning to profitability in the second half of this year.
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.
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:
- 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.
Find a local Solar Power Installers now
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.
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.
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
TIPS FOR BUYING YOUR SOLAR POWER SYSTEM.
Buying a home solar power system can be a very exciting experience, but don’t get too carried away by advertising. Be sure to focus on the important aspects of your purchase as it’s a substantial investment and one you’ll be living with for a long time. The following are some buying solar tips on what to look for when purchasing a system.
Ask friends, family neighbours or colleagues who have had solar PV systems installed. Often the best buying solar tips com from right in your neighbourhood. They’ll be able to tell you about their experiences and perhaps alert you to any problems they experienced. Problems that you’ll be able to avoid. Learn more about potential issues in our consumers guide to solar power – avoiding tricks and traps.
Length of manufacturer’s warranty
Take note of what guarantees the manufacturer offers. If the manufacturer is reputable and the warranty period on the panels is substantial (at least 25 years) you would naturally expect your solar system to last long for a long time, long enough to pay for itself and make you a profit. However, for a warranty to be honoured, the manufacturer needs to be still operating. So, be cautious of brands without a track record in Australia.
Have realistic price expectations
If you are paying substantially less than many other similar size systems quoted, you may find poor quality equipment and/or poor installation work. Quality equipment and installation isn’t cheap and, like all other purchases, you often get what you pay for.
Compare components and warranty periods and check into the company providing the installation. While large, well established companies can pass on substantial savings due to increased buying power, other companies often reduce costs by cutting important corners.
Solar panel certifications
This applies to all solar panel purchases, but especially to the purchases that could attract a government rebate. The certification on solar panels indicates the type of testing that they have undergone. For instance, TUV IEC 61215 confirms that the solar panels have gone through testing by an independent laboratory and have met their advertised specifications. Other certification types are often self-assessed. Therefore, they rely on the company being honest in what it claims.
Decide on the type of panels
It used to be the case that if you had limited roof space you would need highly efficient (and very expensive) mono-crystalline solar panels. This is rapidly changing with advances in polycrystalline panel technology and some thin film technologies. Still, even if you have ample roof space you may still want to consider panel sizes vs. output. Filling up your roof with inefficient panels will affect your ability to add more panels at a later date, and does not maximise the power output of the space.
It’s also important to bear in mind that regardless of claim, no solar panel technology will produce a significant amount of power in full shade. Learn more about monocrystalline vs. thin film panels.
Solar panel mounting
Make sure that the roof, ground mounting or tracking system is engineer certified for the area you are in. For example, if you live in a cyclone prone area make sure the mounting system and mounting brackets are also cyclone rated. Quality systems are wind certified. After all you do not want your system to take off during a wild storm . The mounting system is a very vital component and some suppliers skimp on this item. Make sure you ask about wind certification, warranty arrangements and get copies of relevant documents.
Solar inverter efficiency
A power inverter is the box between the panels and your appliances that converts DC electricity from solar panels to AC suitable for use in your home.
Not all solar inverters are equal and inverter efficiency will have a direct impact on the amount of time it takes for a system to pay for itself. Look at the inverter efficiency before purchasing a system. Obviously, the more efficient the inverter the better. Less electricity will be wasted as heat during the conversion from DC to AC. Industry leading solar inverters for grid connect systems in Australia include SMA, Sungrow and Fronius. Be cautious of generic type brands.
Get a few solar quotes
It always wise to gather a few solar quotes when making a major purchase as you will find that prices vary widely between providers. But don’t be just swayed by price as inferior components can reduce the up-front cost of the system. However, they may wind up costing you more in the long run in terms of reliability and efficiency.
Avoid high pressure sales people
High pressure sales tactics are unfortunately common in the solar industry. Try not to make decisions on the spot, just ask the person to let you consider the offer. If it’s as good as they claim, it will still be a good deal tomorrow. Pressured decisions on the spot often turn out to be less advantageous in reflection.
High pressure sales people are only one of the pitfalls that may await you when you shop for a solar power system. Learn more about the potential issues and how to avoid them in our consumers guide to solar power – avoiding tricks and traps.