The price of a 30kW solar system: a case study. As electricity prices continue to rise, it is now common for small to medium businesses to install a larger solar system up to around 30kW or so.
Solaray installed a now world-famous 30kW solar system for Stucco Housing Co-op in Newtown Sydney to help reduce their daytime reliance on the power grid, with battery backup to store any excess solar power to use at night.
Let’s have a look at a few of the key numbers including the price of a 30kW solar power system and the brands you should be considering for a system of this size.
The Price of a 30kW Solar System
A good quality 30kW solar power system starts at a little under $30,000 and goes up to around to $50,000 for a top of the range system with high-efficiency panels. The 30kW Solaray System at Stucco features Enphase Microinverters featuring panel-level output (see below), and premium Trina Honey modules.
It is important to note that with solar panels you generally get what you pay for, and most of our customers choose high-efficiency panels from manufacturers such as Trina Solar or LG Solar. LG Solar is really leading the way with a new 365W module.
It is possible to find cheaper 30kW solar systems for under $30,000, however, this will typically require buying low to mid-range panels manufactured in China, and often without any after-sales support.
For a 30kW solar system it is important to maximise reliability, output and of course longevity, and so spending a little more upfront can save you a lot of money over the life of the system. Solaray service full-replacement warranties and our systems include full technical support. This gives our customers the peace of mind that if something goes wrong they will be looked after.
As a rough guide, a 30kW system can save you up to around $12,000 a year on your power bills depending on your price of electricity. For commercial systems, the power bill can be a little more complex than a residential bill, so we recommend talking with our commercial solar team for more detailed information about the potential benefit of a solar system. A number of charges on the bill are still calculated by kWh, despite not being included in your total usage, and so we can help reduce these fees as well as your reliance on the grid.
Of course, to save $3,000 on a quarterly bill you are going to need to use a lot of power during the daytime – as much as 150 kWh during the daytime over summer. If you are able to get the most out of your 30kW system, you could spend up to $40,000 and get a top of the range system with a return on your investment in less than 5 years, depending on how much you pay for power.
Output of a 30kW Solar System
According to the Clean Energy Council guidelines, a 30kW solar system in Sydney facing north will produce an average of 120 kWh a day, outputting more power in summer and less in winter.
We have found that this guideline is a conservative estimate and that by using the top brands you can get more out of our system, for example, our Enphase systems give our customers on average 110% of expected output. On an average in summer, a 30kW system will give our customers around 150 kWh of power, and on a sunny day it can even get up over 200 kWh as shown in the image below. Because this can be too much power for many households, we often recommend considering battery storage so that any excess solar power can then be used during the evening.
Number of Panels – From 82 x 365W Panels to 110 x 275W Panels
Output – 120 kWh a day average (see below)
Potential Savings – $2500 – $3000 a bill depending on your cost of power
Average Payback Period – 4 to 7 years
Cost – From around $35000 to around $50000 depending on installation costs and brands
Suited to – Medium-sized businesses using on average around 120 kWh a day during the daytime (or over 24 hours with battery storage)
How Much Can a 30kW System Save Me?
The potential savings of a 30kW solar system depend on how much solar power you are able to use at the time of generation. You will typically save around 20 to 30 cents a kWh (depending on how much you pay for your power), and depending on your retailer, you will be paid around 5-12 cents a kWh for the power you send back to the grid. A 30kW solar system can save you up to around $2,500 to $3,000 per quarterly bill, and we recommend you contact the Solaray Commercial Solar Team for more information, as commercial power bills can be a little more complex than a simple price per kWh.
More information on how solar power reduces your power bill is available here: How Solar Power Reduces Your Power Bill
Number of solar panels for a 30kW System
The larger the system, the more important it is to buy quality panels, ensuring maximise reliability, increased output in all weather conditions, and the longevity of your system.
The other consideration is roof space. By installing high-efficiency panels, we can use 82 x 365W panels instead of the standard 110 x 275W panels, which can significantly increase output if you are limited by roof space.
30kW solar system with a split array
Solaray is the largest and most experienced installer of systems featuring panel-level output in NSW, and our system design team are experts at putting together a professional solar array that will maximise solar output in all conditions.
The solar system at Stucco Housing Coop was designed & installed across 2 different orientations which helps to spread the output of solar power across the day. A common panel layout is to have some panels facing north, and the others west to spread the output into the afternoon, making it easier to use more of the solar power as it is generated.
Having panels west is also advantageous if you are on time of use billing, where businesses typically pay up to around 50c per kWh between 2 pm and 8 pm on weekdays for power.