How much do solar panels cost?

Most people invest in solar panels to lower their electricity bill, gain energy independence and/or support a more sustainable future. It’s important to be clear on your objectives before you talk to a retailer or installer because this will inform the cost and payback of your solar system. Make sure you ask the right questions of your retailer and installer to help you save time and money and get the full benefits of your investment in the long run.

The total cost of your solar system is made up of size of the system, the quality of components, government rebates, the state you live in and your retailer. There are initial costs and rebates to consider as well as ongoing maintenance costs and feed in tariffs.

Keeping this in mind, we can provide you with a rough approximation that you can use as a guide when researching solar companies.

Typically, solar (photovoltaic or PV) systems are made up of:

  • Solar Panels
  • Inverters
  • Customer Interface (online portal or platform)

The cost of installing a solar power system will vary depending on the number of panels and the total electricity output required. The quality of components being installed will also impact the price.

A small solar set up with a PV system made up of 12 solar panels and a 3kW output will start at around $3,500. While a larger setup, between 28 – 40 panels, producing 10kW, can cost up to $15,000.

When it comes to solar power, there’s no one size fits all. To ensure you get the right solar system for your property we recommend getting a quote from at least 3 solar installers, this way you can ensure you get the best price possible.

The cost of installing a solar power system will vary depending on the number of panels and the total electricity output required.

The cost of installing a solar power system will vary depending on the number of panels and the total electricity output required. The quality of components being installed will also impact the price.

A small solar set up with a PV system made up of 12 solar panels and a 3kW output will start at around $3,500. While a larger setup, between 28 – 40 panels, producing 10kW, can cost up to $15,000.

When it comes to solar power, there’s no one size fits all. To ensure you get the right solar system for your property we recommend getting a quote from at least 3 solar installers, this way you can ensure you get the best price possible.

Rebates

Both federal and state governments pitch in to help bring down the cost of your solar installation.

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (STCs) was set up by the Australian government to reduce the cost associated with installing solar power, and other renewable energy sources, on your home or small business premise. Commonly known as ‘solar rebates’, STCs provide a significant discount to the cost of installing your solar system in the form of a government subsidy. This discount will usually be applied during the initial purchase, and is typically handled by your installer, but it’s always best to check with your solar company.

The state government has its own rebate program through Solar Homes Victoria. These are rebates for a variety of solar related technologies including, solar panels, solar hot water, and even solar panels for renters.  There is also an option for an interest free loan for up to the amount of the rebate. Check out their eligibility criteria to see if you qualify to bring down the cost of solar even more.

Feed In Tariffs

Feed in tariffs are rates at which the retailer will buy back excess electricity that is generated by your solar PV system. The government mandates that the minimum rate per is 10.2c per kWh. Retailers may add to this rate, but cannot go below this rate unless you are on a time-varying scheme. The total amount that feed in tariffs will reduce your bill and your payback period depends on the amount you export.

When it comes to solar power, there’s no one size fits all. To ensure you get the right solar system for your property we recommend getting a quote from at least 3 solar installers, this way you can ensure you get the best price possible.

Ongoing Maintenance

The final consideration when calculating the total cost of a solar power system is maintenance and cleaning. Solar panels are built to last at least 25 years, and , in that time they’ll build up dirt and grime. To ensure you get the best out of your system, it’s important you keep it clean and running correctly.

The Clean Energy Council recommends solar systems are inspected every 5 years by an accredited installer. This will usually cost around $150-$250. In the meantime, keep an eye on your panels. Seasonal rain should keep them clean, but if you notice a build-up of dirt you can get panels cleaned for around $10 – $20 each by an accredited solar installer. While these are relatively small expenses, they can add up over time and should be considered when deciding if going solar makes financial sense to you.

FAQs

How much does it cost to install solar panels?

The cost of your solar system will depend on the size of the installation, quality of components, and federal government rebates.

Are solar panels worth the cost?

Whether or not you choose to install solar depends on your unique energy needs. Installing solar panels can cost anywhere between 3,000 and 15,000 dollars, and over time you will recoup these expenses through lower energy bills – this is called the ‘payback period’. While the payback period will differ depending on the initial cost of your installation, feed in tariffs and how much electricity you use, most Australians will recover the full cost of their installation within 5 to 7 years.

Do solar panels really save you money?

Solar panels can save you money in two ways

  1. Reducing your reliance on the grid.

The key way solar can help you save money is by reducing the amount of energy you buy from your electricity retailer. If you have a solar system installed, all your appliances will draw power directly from the panels before buying energy from the grid. If you invest in a battery, you can also charge this during the day and draw power from it at night to avoid paying peak energy prices.

  1. Feed in tariffs

Living in Australia, we have an abundant supply of solar energy and you may be able to sell your excess electricity generation back to the grid.  Energy retailers will buy this excess energy at a rate called the ‘feed in tariff’ which can vary from 10c to 16c per kWh in Victoria depending on your retailer and plan.

It is important to understand how much electricity you can ‘feed’ back into the network by making sure that there is ‘capacity’ where you live. This depends on a number of factors including how many of your neighbours have already installed solar in your area. This doesn’t mean that you can’t install solar, it just means that you should understand how much you want to invest knowing that you may not be able to export excess generation. This is why it is critical that you or your installer, obtains a solar pre approval by your network for the amount of solar you plan to export.

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