Primarily, of course, the price of your solar installation is determined by the size in kiloWatts (kW) that you choose. There are also variations according to season and manufacturer, but in the main prices are fairly consistent and stable.
One thing’s for certain, solar panel cost has gone down!
Ten or so years ago, you could pay up to $10,000 for a tiny 1kW installation, so there’s that! Nowadays, if you have $10,000 to invest in solar, you’ll get a lot more.
Furthermore, the prices of PV systems are still quite deeply subsidised by the Australian government and its various rebates, so do check them out. Although the rebates vary quite a bit, on average you’re looking at around $500 per kW. Not to be sniffed at.
The costs of solar installations after an average rebate
If you install tier one panels and a reputable, experienced installation company to fit them, here’s what you can expect to pay for various different sizes.
A 1.5kW system with five panels should cost between $2,500 and $4,000
A 3kW system with 10 panels should cost between $3,500 and $5,000
A 5kW system with 17 panels should cost between $4,500 and $8,000
A 7kW system with 23 panels should cost between $6,500 and $10,000
A 10kW system with 33 panels should cost between $8,000 and $12,000
These figures assume that each panel is a 300W model, so if yours are more or less than this capacity, you can adjust the costs accordingly.
For a good quality microinverter, you should, as a rule of thumb, add around 20% to the costs above.
You can, of course, use a well-regarded budget model of inverter in your installation and save between $500 and $700. However, only do this if you’re struggling to fund the installation as you’re more likely to have to replace the inverter before your investment pays for itself.
Getting the money together
Even with the rebates, you might not have $5,000 or more hanging around just waiting to go up onto your roof. While you’re saving up, have a good look at the savings you could make by having the system installed so that if you do dip into savings, forgo that trip to Bali or eat ramen for a year, you know it’s worth it.
You can always opt for cheaper systems, but the danger is that you’re going for less-than-ideal quality, both in components and in the installation. This can end up being more expensive in the long run, especially if you have to tear down the dodgy array before replacing it with a better one.
One option for financing your solar installation is to add it to your mortgage balance. The interest rates are historically low right now, so if you’re paying a few tens of dollars more each month on your home loan, it’ll be outweighed by the savings you’ll be making on your energy bills. Do the maths, talk to a good installation company and think about it before making any definite moves.