Prior to the early closure of the Solar Credit Scheme on January 1, installers on the Solar Choice network began updating their prices to reflect the new cost of solar PV in Australia. In the past month, our solar brokers have worked with the installers on our network to ensure that our prices reflect the current market offering and, to identify whether there has been a uniform increase in the value of STCs.
Following on from the January PV Price Index, prices remain higher than previous months as a result in the fall in available Federal Solar Rebates, but despite this, the cost of solar PV continues to decrease.
Cost of installed solar PV systems by city and system size
Updated figures for February show the cost of solar PV continues to decline, possibly as a result of the increased value of STCs, rather than a decrease in the cost of components.
When looking at the data on a month-by-month basis, 2kW solar system prices can be identified as being the exception to an overall trend. Excluding the 2kW data from the overall analysis, we can see that as system size increases so does the difference in price between the January and February figures.
* Includes STC discount.
Solar PV system prices by city and system size – cost per watt
Excluding the 2kW system data from the overall analysis reveals a decrease in the installed cost per watt of between 6 cents and 9 cents. This has brought the average cost of a 5kW system down to under $2 per watt.
Sydney prices are the cheapest across the board, with 3kW, 4kW and 5kW systems coming in at under $2 per watt. Perth system prices are the closest to Sydney, with a 3kW system coming in slightly under Sydney at $1.97 per watt, this proximity in price may be as a result of the higher number of STCs allocated to customers in the Perth area.
The most expensive systems can be found in Melbourne and Brisbane. While it is understandable that customers in Melbourne may pay slightly more as a result of receiving fewer STCs, the high price in the Brisbane area cannot be explained by the removal of the Solar Credit Scheme alone.
Solar PV system prices – highs and lows
There are a number of changes at the minimum and maximum price for a fully installed solar PV system, but no definite trend.
The maximum price for a 1.5kW system has increased by around $1,000, a 2kW system has increased by around $450, but these changes may be as a result of an additional installer joining our Tasmanian network. The larger system sizes show a decrease across the board, the most notable change has been at the maximum price for a 5kW system, which has decreased by approximately $1,300.
Average STC Value
Since the early closure of the Solar Credit Scheme was announced in November 2012, the value of STCs has been steadily increasing.
February’s average STC values are no exception with an increase of over a dollar for systems between 1.5-3kW. The STC value of 4kW and 5kW solar PV systems has increased by 70 cents and 80 cents, respectively.
The minimum and maximum STC prices that help to shape the average figures are the same across all system sizes. The remarkable $43 per STC that has been on offer from one installer has been removed and the new maximum price is $34. The minimum STC price is up $2 on previous months and it currently sitting around the $25 mark.
The importance of the STC value for those looking to purchase a solar PV system relates to the Renewable Energy Target, set out by the federal government. As part of the RET, ‘liable entities’ are obliged to purchase and surrender a certain number of Renewable Energy Certificates every year, with the total number of RECs required to meet the target increasing annually.
Australia is divided into a number of zones REC Zones and the STCs are allocated on this basis, regions that receive a great number of sunshine hours (such as Far North Queensland) are allocated a greater number of STCs, whilst those in less sun-blessed areas (such as Victoria and Tasmania) receive fewer.
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.