Solar Choice Solar PV Price Check - November

Solar prices have hit a fresh low for both residential and commercial Australian customers, with the price of premium systems in particular on the way down.

This month solar PV system costs reached an all-time low for both residential and commercial customers.

Cost of installed solar PV systems by city and system size

The beginning of November saw a noticeable reduction in the price of premium solar PV systems compared to the previous month, with the average price for all system sizes decreasing by around $200.

Melbourne and Brisbane remain the most expensive cities to install solar PV but these too have seen a reduction in system prices. Melbourne figures are affected by additional costs associated with installations in Tasmania (Hobart is listed separately but is still partially serviced by Victoria-based installers affecting the price for this state). Regardless, the average price for Melbourne is down by approximately $500 for all system sizes, bringing it in line with Brisbane. The cities with the lowest priced systems continue to be Sydney and Perth. The cost of STCs have been included in the below tables.

Solar PV system prices by city and system size

The decrease in the installed solar PV system prices is also reflected in the cost per watt. Compared to October 2012, the cost per watt in now approximately 9 cents cheaper across the board, Melbourne has seen the biggest decrease in cost at around 20 cents per watt. At the beginning of October, the average cost per watt for a 1.5kW system was $2.82 compared to $2.50 per watt at the beginning of November. The average cost of a 5kW solar PV system in Melbourne has dropped by 34 cents per watt.

System price highs and lows

The minimum system price remains about the same, with the minimum 5kW system price increasing by around $350. The good news for consumers is that the maximum system price, for all system sizes, has dropped dramatically, meaning residential customers can now purchase a premium system for significantly less than 30 days ago. Compared to the beginning of October:

-- A premium 1.5kW system can be almost $1,000 cheaper,

-- A 2kW or 3kW premium system may be $3,000 less expensive;

-- The maximum cost for a premium 4kW system nearly $6,000 cheaper; and

-- The top price for a 5kW system over $6,000 cheaper.

The reason for this dramatic change at the top end of the price scale may be a reaction from quality solar panel manufacturers to the influx of low cost, extremely low quality panels flooding the market. One premium panel manufacturer has expressed genuine concern that the number of consumers purchasing systems using old technology or from tier 3 manufactures will eventually lead to a backlash against solar as these system start to fail and the companies who produced the panels have gone under, leaving many without warranties.

Chinese solar panels make up the low-to-medium priced systems almost exclusively while European (mostly German) and Australian are the more expensive options. Perhaps due to the importance of having a good quality inverter there is a good spread of European models across all price brackets, although there are Chinese inverters available these are mostly available with the lower cost systems. At the present time there are no Australian panels or inverters listed but this should change with the recent opening of the Tindo Solar factory.

Average STC discount

The minimum STC price offered by installers across the country at the beginning of this month dropped to $21, the maximum was around $31 with one instance of $43 per STC. The average for all system sizes was around the $26 mark with residents in Perth and Sydney getting the highest average figure of $27.20 and $27.60, respectively. Not all installers quoted a specific figure as many include the STCs as part of a package or provide ‘market value’ at the time the installation contract is signed.

About this data

All figures are based on the offerings of active installers on the Solar Choice installer network for each of the 6 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.