Solar photovoltaic (PV) system prices at the beginning of April 2013 are on average lower than they were for the previous month. However, further examination of figures from each of the 7 cities and 5 system sizes included in the index reveals a few discernible trends. One is a clear downward movement in average prices for all system sizes in Sydney, Perth, and Canberra in an apparent (possibly temporary) easing of the last several months’ increases there. Another trend is the continuing tendency for systems in Melbourne and Brisbane (particularly those under 3kW, kilowatts) to become more expensive on a per-watt basis. Larger systems continue to offer the best value for money.
Cost of installed solar PV systems by city and system size
Solar PV system prices for this month are best viewed against the backdrop of the federal Solar Credits multiplier (which was discontinued at the beginning of the year), and the understanding that system prices are anticipated to rise this year due to other factors affecting the industry globally. The fallout from the changes to the STC discount scheme has been apparent mainly in the smaller system sizes (<3kW), which had already been losing popularity among customers even prior to this and in spite of the extra-strength support that they received from the multiplier. Prices for 3kW, 4kW, and 5kW solar systems in most cities in the price index (except Brisbane and Melbourne), however, have either fallen or remained steady.
Solar system price per watt by city and system size
The table below contains $/watt figures (incorporating the federal small-scale technology certificate (STC) discount) to give average system prices for all 5 system sizes in the 7 capital cities.
For STC Zone 3 cities (Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, and Perth), the STCs helped to decrease system prices by 65c/W on average, calculated based on the STC discounts explicitly detailed by installers when available (i.e. when not omitted as part of a ‘package deal’). STCs contributed 51c/W on average in the Zone 4 cities (Hobart and Melbourne).
Solar PV System Prices – minimum and maximum
High and low system prices are based on installer offerings from all cities and of all system sizes.
Solar PV system prices to date
The following charts show the $/W cost of installing a solar system since Solar Choice began compiling the data in August 2012.
Predictions that solar system prices would increase in 2013 have been more or less realised, but to date seem to have been most relevant for smaller systems.
There is an across-the-board dip in system prices around November-December of last year, followed by a rise from January this year. Smaller systems have exhibited a steady rise since the beginning of 2013, although Perth, Sydney, Adelaide, and Canberra have seen (to varying degrees) a reversal in this trend since last month. Sydney is where the cost of installing a system is lowest, with average system prices for all sizes significantly below those of other cities.
About this data
All figures are based on the offerings of active installers on the Solar Choice installer network for each of the six major capital cities. The system prices above do not reflect the average prices at which systems are ultimately purchased.
About Solar Choice
Solar Choice works with 100 solar PV installers in providing free and impartial Solar Quote Comparisons for customers throughout Australia. Solar Choice Commercial manages tenders for a wide range of commercial-scale solar PV projects throughout Australia, including solar farms and utility-scale solar PV plants.