With electricity prices continuing to skyrocket across Australia, households are rushing to install solar power to reduce their power bills, especially now that solar panel prices in Sydney are at an all-time record low. So how much do solar panels cost to install? It depends on the system.
Solar Panel Cost – The Price To Install A Solar Power System
Solar panel prices are at a record low, with a 5kW solar system costing around $5,500 fully installed. A system of this size will generate around 20 kWh a day. If we assume you are paying 30c per kWh, you can expect to save you over $500 every quarterly power bill if you use all of the solar power as it is generated.
The price of good quality solar panels is now so affordable, it is possible to get a return on your money in 3-5 years. Let’s break these numbers down into more detail to help you figure out how much a solar power system costs and how much it can save you on your power costs. Here are the current solar system prices for good quality solar panels for customers in Sydney:
|Solar System Size||Solar Panels||Standard System||Smart Solar System|
|3kW||10 x 310W Panels||From $4,500-$5500||From $4,800-$5,500|
|5kW||17 x 300W Panels||From $5,300-$6,300||From $6,500-$7,500|
|7kW||24 x 300W Panels||From $7,000-$8,000||From $9,000-$10,000|
|10kW||34 x 300W Panels||From $9,000-$10,000||From $11,500-$12,500|
The Price of Solar Power Using Quality Solar Panels
The main factor that will determine how much you pay for solar panels is how much power you want to generate. Solar panels output around 300W to 370W per panel, and as a general rule a solar power system in Sydney will generate 4 times its size as a daily average. In reality, it will do a lot more than this in summer and less in winter. Furthermore, because solar power is generated from light (not heat), your system will perform well on sunny days and may hardly work at all during dark stormy weather, especially in winter.
As an example, a 5kW solar system in Sydney will generate around 20 kWh a day as illustrated here:
The main benefit of solar power is to use the solar power in the home as it is generated. This directly reduces your power bill because you are using free solar power rather than buying it from the grid. Many people confuse the benefit of solar power with the feed-in tariff, but actually, you want to minimise your feed-in tariff because this is a small payment you get from your energy retailer for any excess solar power that isn’t used in the home: How Solar Power Reduces Your Power Bill
To size up a solar system, you should try and work out how much power you can use during the daytime, either as an estimate or by reading your meter. By reading the number on your meter in the morning and then again in the evening, you simply subtract one number from the other to work out how many kWh your household used during the day. Divide that number by 4 to get a rough idea of the solar system you need (as a solar system generates 4 times its size on an average day).
Once you have a rough idea of how much power you use, you can then look to replace this with solar power. Here are some guidelines to help you size up a solar system and the price for a good quality solar system:
- A 3kW system will generate around 10 kWh a day in winter and 16 kWh a day in summer. The price of a 3kW system is around $5,500 to $7,000 fully installed. 3kW Solar System Price…
- A 5kW system will generate around 14 kWh a day in winter and 25 kWh a day in summer. The price of a 5kW system is around $6,500 to $10,000 fully installed. 5kW Solar System Price…
- A 10kW system will generate around 26 kWh a day in winter and 50 kWh a day in summer. The price of a 10kW system is around $10,000 to $19,000 fully installed. 10kW Solar System Price…
The Costs Invoiced When Installing A Solar Power System
Aside from how many panels you need, the price of a solar system will vary significantly depending on the quality of the components:
- Solar panels are designed to last decades, however, all solar panels drop off in output over time as they age. Better quality solar panels on average last longer, they provide more output and they are more reliable. They also cost more money. We recommend going with a reliable brand such as LG Solar or Trina Solar, and we would be happy to provide pricing for a number of different panels to help you make an informed decision. On a 5kW system, you can expect to pay an additional $1,000 to $2,000 for top-of-the-range 345W high-efficiency panels compared with a good quality 300W panel. You can save some money upfront by choosing a cheap Chinese panel, however, we strongly advise against it due to a reduction in quality, performance and reliability: A Warning About Cheap Solar Systems
- Solar panels output DC power. This needs to be converted to AC so it is compatible with your home. All solar systems come with an inverter that converts DC to AC and because it is the working part of the system it is the component most likely to break. For this reason, Solaray only supplies the top handful of brands from companies like Fronius, Enphase and SolarEdge. A cheap inverter from China may cost $500 compared to $2000 for a European Made equivalent. It is common for the cheaper inverters to only last a few years, whereas you can expect a good quality inverter to last 15 years or longer. Trying to cut costs on your inverter will often give you problems over the life of your system, and it isn’t always cheap booking a service job and then getting an inverter replaced out of warranty. Systems powered by Enphase & SolarEdge allow for panel level output that can significantly increase output, especially if you have patchy shade on your roof.
- Monitoring typically comes with the inverter, however, there is now a range of advanced options for households that want more functionality and control. Brands like Enphase and SolarEdge offer consumption monitoring that allows you to keep track of how much power you are using in your home as well as how much solar power you are generating. If you decide to add battery storage, these devices can turn your solar into a smart energy management system. SolarEdge even offers home automation, allowing you to send excess solar power to appliances, underfloor heating, air conditioning etc. Consumption monitoring is typically a few hundred dollars more than standard monitoring and well worth it if you are considering battery storage.
- Battery storage is now becoming mainstream in Australia. Nearly all our customers either include batteries with their solar system or buy a battery ready system. Battery storage starts at around $5000 for a small unit, up to around $15,000 for the larger systems with incredibly smart energy management. Battery storage allows your household to run on solar 24/7, and you can choose backup functionality for emergency power when the grid goes down. The battery can even recharge the next morning when the sun comes up. The future of renewable energy has already arrived!
Additional Costs of Installing Solar Panels
Split Arrays: Solar power is typically generated across the day with the output looking like a bell curve. By splitting your array across two roof sections, you can spread the output across the day and have two smaller peaks of output that can then be easier to manage. Installing two arrays of panels typically costs around $150-$300 for the additional hardware such as DC isolators and cabling plus the additional labour cost. We recommend a split array for many of our customers.
Meter Board Work: When you have solar installed, your meter board must be left up to current Australian standards. If you have an old meter board that needs upgrading, this must be done when installing solar power. Typically, the work will cost less than $100 for things such as a new mains switch or service fuse, however, there are times when the meter board is too high, especially on heritage era buildings in the inner-west of Sydney. Moving a meter board can cost around $700-$1000 or so depending on what needs to be done, and is often a show stopper unless you want it done aside from the solar. Please talk to us for more information if you think your meter board needs upgrading, we’d be happy to help.
Access to a high roof may require hiring a cherry picker. Most houses will be fine, however, from time to time we need to install solar power on roofs that can’t be accessed with a ladder. Hiring a cherry picker isn’t cheap, however, it’s not always a show stopper. If you have a high roof or you are concerned we won’t be able to access your roof, please call the Solaray Team so we can make an assessment for you.
Metering: When you install solar power you need to replace your electricity meter with a bi-directional digital meter that measures how much power you are sending back to the grid. If you have a digital meter, it will most likely need to be replaced by your retailer with a similar model but one that has a different program in it. A lot of energy retailers in NSW are now offering to change your meter free of charge.
Alternatively, we can arrange to organise a no-cost meter change should you choose to switch to Energy Locals as your energy retailer. The Energy Locals plan includes a solar feed-in-tariff of up to 16 cents (including GST), competitive prices on electricity, carbon offsets for all your energy use, and no exit fees or lock-in contracts. More information on Energy Locals
Again, please talk to us for more information on the technical side of an installation. We can take care off all the paperwork and technical details, making the process of going solar smooth and easy.