How much do solar panels cost in Sydney?
The cost of solar panels for your home or business in Sydney will depend on many variable factors: what type of solar panel you want, how big the system needs to be and who installs it for you.
At GI Energy we can install a vast range of solar equipment and we like to design systems based on individual needs. Solar panels are not a one size fits all solution and the best solar panel for you, may not be the best solar panel for your best mate or neighbour.
This article will shed some light on what to look for and what to expect in terms of pricing for solar panels in Sydney.
A typical home solar system in Sydney is 6.6kW and a good quality installation will cost between $4,500.00 up to $10,000.00. But why the big difference in cost?
The image above shows a 6.6kW system installed with Phono Solar TwinPlus panels.
We mention “good quality” above. You can go way cheaper than this if you wanted to – we have seen 6.6kW solar arrays in Sydney being installed for as little as $3000 – but be careful as you usually get what you pay for.
The reason the range is from $4,500 – $10,000 is due to the choice of solar panel and inverter you want to install. The bottom end of that range will get you a really good quality Chinese made inverter (Sungrow is the best for this price range in our opinion) paired with a reputable, long serving solar panel from a large manufacturer that has been present in Australia for many years. See Canadian Solar, Longi and Jinko for examples of solar panels that fit into this category. The higher end of this range will get you a European made inverter (see Fronius, SMA, Fimer) paired with a premium solar panel brand.
If my budget is $10,000 instead of $4,500, what extra am I going to get?
The difference between the Chinese made inverters and the more expensive European made inverters is twofold: efficiency and reliability. In relation to the solar panels, if you go to the higher end of that range, you will get a more efficient solar panel. Basically, this means you will have an overall system that is more reliable, produces more energy and provides more savings for your home.
So, is it worth spending more?
Everyone is different, so we would encourage you to talk to a solar consultant before making up your mind here. However, for most people, we would suggest a spend of approximately $7,000 to get a great balance between having very reliable and efficient products, without paying too much to get the absolute “best”. You can pay a premium to get a slightly more efficient overall solar system, or pay for the brand name of a product, and not really get too much back in terms of tangible savings. See best solar panels for more info.
What about even cheaper systems?
Firstly, there are solar companies installing 6.6kW solar systems in Sydney for way less than $5,000 these days. But be careful here, because in the solar industry the term “if you buy cheap, you buy twice” is truer than any other industry I know. It is very easy for solar retailers to find and supply cheaper solar panels, and cheaper inverters. It is also very easy to find cheaper contractors to install solar systems. But going too cheap will usually means you will end up with products that will be unreliable long-term, and also increases the risk of the install not being up to scratch and causing problems. We outline the difference between a good installation and a poor one here.
What are the solar rebates worth?
There are currently generous solar rebates available for solar panels in Sydney. Australia is split in four zones for solar rebates with each zone being entitled to slightly different rebates, depending on the geographical location. Essentially, the more sunlight an area receives, the higher the solar rebate. This is because the more sunlight you receive, the more clean energy you are likely to produce. These rebates come in the form of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) and are associated with the size of the solar array, as well as the location it is installed in.
Sydney is located in zone three, which means it receives the second highest amount of solar rebate in Australia. So, if you were to install solar panels in Sydney you would receive between 45 STCs (3kW solar) – 1520 STCs (100kW solar). Each of these STCs has a monetary value, which at the time of writing is $35 per certificate. As an example, if you installed a 7kW solar array in Sydney, you would receive a solar rebate equalling 106 STCs x $35 = $3710.00.
Once you go over 100kW of solar panels you would no longer get any STCs, so there would be no upfront solar rebate. This solar system would then only be eligible for Large-scale Technology Certificates (LGCs). LGCs are paid as an ongoing subsidy are are dependent on the actual production of the solar panels, which is measured and reported using approved metering software.
Solar production in Sydney:
The chart above shows monitoring from a 7.2kW solar installation.
Sydney has a humid subtropical climate from pretty chilly in the winter to hot and humid in the summer months. The weather is usually reasonable settled, with less consistency as you go onto the Western suburbs. Rainfall can be erratic throughout the year, but usually there is more rain during the early stages on the year from January – March.
The Sydney climate is good for solar panel production and therfore you get good results with your solar array. You are likely to produce 4.2kWhs of solar power for every kW of solar panels you install. For example, if you install a 1kW solar array, you are likely to produce 4.2kWhs of clean energy on average per day.
Heading further north in Australia does mean slightly better solar production as there are longer summer periods with higher UV index and more sunny days. However, if you compare your solar production in Sydney to almost every other major city in Europe, you would be pretty happy with the results!
A breakdown of the cost of an individual solar panel:
First, there is the wholesale price. This is the price that your installer can buy from a company who sells the panels in bulk, or from the manufacturer themselves. This varies depending on stock levels, installer-supplier relations, and the exchange rate (as most international trade is done in USD).
Second, there is the type of the panel. An entry-level made-in-China dead-in-three-years panel will be a lot cheaper than a Korean-made high-technology panel (e.g. Q CELLS) that will easily last a decade. Furthermore, a 200W panel will usually be a lot cheaper than a 400W one! This is why systems are often thought about in dollars-per-watt ($/W) – a 6kW system at $1/W would cost $6000, regardless if the system used 30x 200W panels or 15x 400W panels.
Third, there is the difference between the cost of 20 solar panels, and 20 solar panels installed with all the required “balance of system” – such as the inverter, the switches, the cables, etc. The balance of system is usually higher than the cost of the actual panels.
Fourth, there is the cost you pay. There are a bunch of government incentives and rebates that can take up to a third off the price you pay! And there are also finance deals/payment plans, especially “no interest” ones, which can add up to a third extra (as the cost of interest is added upfront).
The cost of solar panels in Sydney will vary depending on exactly what you would like installed. If you have a budget of $5,000 or more, you can be confident you will be able to get something really good quality from a reputable solar retailer. You should always still do your research on the manufacturer of the solar panels and inverter you choose, as well as the solar retailer selling you the solar system.
Here are some links worth checking out: