Six Elements that Impact the Price of Solar Panels

How much do solar panels cost?” As electricity bills continue to climb, many people are asking this question. However, the panels aren’t the only element of a solar power system, and they all contribute to the final price.

With each passing year, a growing number of people around the world decide to install solar panels. In this regard, Australia leads the way with over two million systems.

This is mainly because many Australians are looking for a way to combat rising electricity costs. As solar panels offer an excellent way to cut the bills, their popularity has grown. In addition, government subsidies make it easier to afford them.

As such, “How much do solar panels cost” is a question that has crossed the minds of many. People will also frequently wonder how many panels they need – you can read more about that here.

But while the panels are the most prominent part of the system, they aren’t the only one. There are several other elements to consider, and it’s very important to pick the right system on the whole. This is what will allow you to save the most money on your power bills and give you the best return on your investment in the long run.

In order to help you with that, this article will examine all the different elements that affect the price of solar power systems.

The Elements

While people may simply say they’re buying solar panels, they are actually getting a solar photovoltaic system. Of course, the panels are a vital element. But, depending on the system you go for, they may not actually be the most expensive part.

The bottom line is, you have a number of choices to make when selecting a solar power system. Each of those choices will impact the final price. Here are all the things you need to consider.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost: The Panels Themselves

Since the panels are the most eye-catching part of the system, it makes sense to start with them.

Had you enquired about the price of solar panels about a decade ago, you would’ve received a very different answer from what you’ll get today. This is because solar panels used to be significantly more expensive.

However, the market has evolved since then to favour the consumer. New manufacturers entered the field, causing the price of solar panels to drop. However, this also means it is extremely important for the customer to choose a good brand. In the long run, they give you the best value for money.

However, it is very important to repeat that this is just a rough estimate. Not all solar panels are the same, even for those of the same wattage. Once again, cheap brands come with many risks so it’s important to make a good choice here.

What Sets Solar Panels Apart

This begs an interesting question. If they have the same output, why would certain solar panels cost more than others?

There isn’t a single answer to this question because there are several factors which contribute to this.

For instance, there is the matter of how they perform in shaded areas. Ideally, you will place the panels in a spot without any shade. This will allow them to generate the greatest amount of electricity.

But, that isn’t always possible due to the terrain. In cases like this, more expensive panels might perform better. Consequently, the extra energy they generate can make up for the higher cost.

Also, certain panels will utilise higher quality components. This can reduce the degradation rate over time. The warranty can also differ. It might be longer, it could include transportation costs, etc.

This is why panels can have the same wattage but different prices. Essentially, you get what you pay for, and better panels come with numerous perks. As such, what you choose here will play a large part in determining the price of the whole system. But, this is just the first element you need to consider.

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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost: The Mounting System

While this isn’t the only option, solar panels will usually go on your roof. The mounting system is what will ensure the panels stay where they’re supposed to.

It should be immediately clear why this is a crucial component. The mounting system will need to contend with numerous environmental stresses. This includes wind, rain, and anything else nature sends your way. What is more, it needs to last a very long time.

After all, you don’t buy a solar power system so you could use it for a few years. Instead, it should last for decades – that is one of the main advantages. This is great for your bottom line, but it also means that the mounting system needs to stand the test of time.

In other words, you need high-quality materials. Everything also needs to be corrosion-resistant. This will make your solar power system durable, but it will also impact its price.

Of course, the mounting system is important even if you don’t place the panels on the roof. No matter where they are, they are still at the mercy of the elements. Each installation is different, but this is something you always need to take into account when considering the cost.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost: The Balance of System

The Balance of System is a term which refers to numerous components of a solar photovoltaic system. In essence, BOS components allow you to actually use the energy the panels produce. Simply put, the panels themselves would be useless without the Balance of System.

This covers many electrical components. Examples include wiring and cables, switches, breakers, and so on.

Among the many BOS components, one deserves a special mention – the inverter. The reason the inverter is so important is that because solar panels produce DC electricity. But, the appliances in your home need AC electricity.

This is why you can’t use a solar panel to directly power something in your home. Instead, you need to convert the output to AC before you can put it to use. The latter is what an inverter does.

The inverter is crucial for the system. It is also the part that’s most likely to break. Since the cheaper ones only come with a five-year warranty, it’s really important to go for quality here.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost: Installation by an Accredited Electrician

Installation at Windsor DownsThe installation is another factor that will impact the price. In fact, it can impact it in more ways than one.

First of all, you’ll need to pay to have a team of experts set up your system properly. They will see to it that everything runs smoothly and, most importantly, safely.

Furthermore, this will impact your warranty. If you try to set up the panels yourself, the warranty will likely become void.

Finally, there is the issue of government rebates. In order to qualify, you need to have a CEC-accredited electrician sign off on everything. CEC stands for the Clean Energy Council and is Australia’s leading body in this area.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost: Government Incentives

As a way to promote renewable energy, Australia’s government offers subsidies to people who install solar power systems. But as mentioned, you need a CEC-accredited electrician to be eligible. And that’s not all. The design also needs to have the same accreditation.

That’s why it is very important to research who you’ll work with. Solaray is a CEC Approved Retailer, meaning you don’t have to worry about this aspect.

There are factors which will influence how big of a rebate you can get. These include your location and the current value of Small Scale Technology Certificates. Still, it’s crucial to ensure you qualify as you can save thousands of dollars.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost: The Size of the System

Finally, the size of the system is crucial to the cost. You may want an output of 3kW, 5kW, or more. The amount you’ll need to pay will depend a great deal on this.

To help you get a general idea of the figures, here are some approximate costs for a good quality solar system in relation to the system size.

System Size No. of Panels Price
3kW 9 – 12 $3,500 – 5,600
5kW 14 – 20 $5,000 – 9,000
10kW 28 – 40 $9,900 – 15,000

In general, the cost per kW becomes smaller as you go up in system size.

The Payback

The appeal of a solar power system is evident. You pay for it now, but you get that money back over the years through savings. This is the so-called payback period. But, how long does that take?

Once again, it depends. The size of the system is a factor as is how efficiently you use it. The price of electricity in your city also matters. The more expensive the electricity, the shorter the payback period.

But in general, a good-quality 5kW system will pay for itself in three to five years. For a premium system, this period tends to be between four and six years.

These are approximate figures, but they show that solar panels are wise investments. Even if the payback period is a few years longer than this, it’s still much shorter than what a solid system will last.

Looking at the Costs

As you can see, quite a few elements will impact the price of a solar power system. That’s why it pays to do your research and talk to a reputable solar power installer such as Solaray.

Still, one thing is for sure – it’s worth investing in a quality system. With enough time, you’ll save significantly more money than you paid in the first place. As a bonus, you’ll be helping the environment as well.

For more information, request a callback from the Solaray Team today:

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