Solar energy has revolutionised how we use energy in our homes, with solar panels and inverters providing massive savings for residential and commercial energy bills. However, with so many solar providers, manufacturers, models, and installers in the industry, it can be hard to find consistent information. One of the first questions asked by those looking to have solar panels installed is: how much should they be expecting to spend?
Solar panel systems in Australia cost anywhere between $2,500 and $13,000, with the average price of a 10kW solar system being around $9,400. The cost of solar panels depends on your system’s size and wattage, quality of hardware, your location, and any solar incentives available in your state.
Given the large amount of information on the topic, we have compiled a comprehensive guide on solar panels. Think of this as your ultimate guide to everything there is to know about solar panel pricing in Australia. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Australia?
Solar panel systems can cost anywhere between $2,500 and $13,000, depending on your state, hardware quality, and the size of your solar system. Different states have different incentives and rebates, which can help reduce the initial cost of a solar system.
Solar prices in Australia truly stand out on the international market – SolarQuotes research found that the cost of installing solar is around a third of the cost of equivalent systems in the USA.
The cost of solar panels depends on what type of solar panels you’re considering, the amount you need installed and the state you live in. While there are many state-specific incentives for installing solar panels, the fact that solar panels are environmentally friendly and save you money in the long run is often incentive enough to get a system installed.
Using a solar calculator can help you establish a budget and get an idea of initial installation and maintenance costs. It even includes a tool to help you compare solar hardware.
Although the best solar panels in Australia are generally more expensive, they are more efficient and made of higher quality materials. The accessories you choose to get installed can also affect your initial costs and impact your return on investment later on.
Solar Panel Cost per State
The cost for solar panel installation varies per state and size of the installation. On average, a 6kW Solar PV system would cost between $4,000 and $6,000 in most states. For larger systems (10kW), the average investment is anywhere from $7,500 to $10,500.
Here is a table to help you visualise the cost organised by state and wattage produced. These prices include up-front incentives through the Renewable Energy Target discount and the GST scheme. The table below illustrates the total retail price of the solar panel configuration, with installation amounts not included.
|AVERAGE SOLAR PANEL COST BY CITY (JUNE 2022)|
Price of Solar Panels in Perth, WA – With plenty of heat and sunlight all year round, paired with extremely low average prices, Perth is an excellent state to own and use a solar PV system. Starting from an average of $2,860 for a 3kW system, Perth solar prices have never been better.
Perth is one of the best places to install a solar panel system, receiving 5.3 to 5.8 hours of direct sunshine per square metre each day! If eligibility requirements are met, WA residents may be able to access the Federal STC scheme to reduce the upfront cost of installing a solar panel system.
Given the great location, your return on investment will be realised when you utilise solar self-consumption or sell your power back to your supplier through the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS). Feed-in tariffs range between 2.5 to 3 cents per kWh off-peak and 10 cents per kWh on-peak.
Price of Solar Panels in Adelaide, SA – With an average of just over $3,500 for a 3kW system, now is a great time to invest in solar in South Australia. 30% to 40% of homes in the Adelaide area have solar panels installed.
South Australia offers solar panel and energy storage rebates, with certain eligibility requirements, through their Sustainability Incentive Scheme. South Australia also has one of the country’s most impressive battery incentive schemes, netting you up to $3,000 in rebates.
Price of Solar Panels in Brisbane, QLD – On a larger scale, Queensland has one of the lowest average prices for solar panel systems, with a 10kW system costing under $8,500 on average; cheaper than almost every other state in the country.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Brisbane receives around 5.2 hours of sunlight from its zenith per square metre on average per day. In Zone 3, the STC incentive is applied directly to the price of your system, with no work on your end aside from comparing out-of-pocket solar system prices.
Price of Solar Panels in Canberra, ACT – Solar panels in Canberra remain very affordable. With an average cost of $4,270 for a 3kW system, the typical cost for solar panels in Canberra is below the national average across 3kW to 10kW systems.
A growing market in solar, Canberra offers a range of options for solar self-consumption and feeding energy back to the grid, giving residents a ‘credit’ for excess solar energy sent to the grid. Conditions apply to the feed-in tariff rates, so be sure to check with your solar installer.
Price of Solar Panels in Darwin, NT – Although the average price for solar systems in the Northern Territory is higher than the national mean, an abundance of sunlight and generous government incentives enable residents to take full advantage of their solar system.
Rivalling the Sunshine State, Darwin receives an average of 5.9 hours of sunlight per day, making it one of the highest performing solar cities in Australia. Northern Territory residents can also access the SRES federal solar incentive, reducing the upfront cost of installing solar panels.
Price of Solar Panels in Hobart, TAS – Although, on average, solar panels in Tasmania cost more than most other states in the country, government schemes and incentives will help make the initial cost of installing solar panels much more manageable.
Looking for more benefits? Grid electricity prices are around 26 cents per kilowatt-hour, making solar self-consumption a huge bonus. If you’d rather export electricity to the grid than store it, you can expect a feed-in tariff of 9c/kWh.
Price of Solar Panels in Melbourne, VIC – Across 3kW to 10kW solar systems, the average cost for a solar system in Victoria is lower than the national mean. With a 4kW system costing only $4,680 on average, Victorians benefit from some of the most affordable solar prices in the country.
Solar panels are practically everywhere in Melbourne – some suburbs have solar panels installed on over 70% of household roofs. Though it may be a little further south than other states, Melbourne doesn’t lack solar panel benefits!
The Solar Victoria state government program works alongside the SRES federal solar incentive, bringing you a generous overall incentive. To access this, you’ll need to use a CEC Approved solar retailer.
Price of Solar Panels in Sydney, NSW – New South Wales residents have the luxury of some of the lowest average prices for solar systems across Australia. A 10kW solar system costs only $8,310 on average, the lowest in the country for a system of this size.
Sydney may not be the sunniest city, but it receives an average of 3.96kWh per day, which is a very respectable amount! With financial rebates available, it’s well worth installing solar panels in NSW. A State Government program also provides interest-free loans to some NSW customers installing a solar battery. This is postcode specific, however, so you will need to check your postcode to ensure you’re eligible.
Solar Panel Cost Based on Size
Size is one of the largest factors affecting your solar panels, with larger panels in bigger solar systems costing more than smaller ones. As the kW size of your system increases, so does the number of panels required for your system.
Wattage is a major factor that affects the price of installing a solar panel system. Higher capacity solar panels usually make up the larger, more expensive systems that require a higher number of units.
The size of your solar panel system impacts cost, efficiency, and output. The applicable rebates and government discounts can also change depending on the size of your system.
|APPROXIMATE COST OF GOOD QUALITY SOLAR SYSTEM INSTALLATION WITH TIER 1 SOLAR PANELS (JUNE 2022)|
|System Size||No. of Panels||Cost Range (June 2022)|
|1.5kW||4||$2,500 – $4,000|
|2kW||6||$3,000 – $4,500|
|3kW||8||$3,500 – $5,000|
|4kW||11||$4,000 – $6,000|
|5kW||14||$4,500 – $8,000|
|6.6kW||18||$5,500 – $9,000|
|7kW||19||$6,500 – $10,000|
|8kW||22||$7,500 – $11,000|
|10kW||27||$8,000 – $13,000|
The prices shown fluctuate and were published when relevant as of June 2022 for Tier 1 solar panels.
Note that this chart assumes the use of 370W solar panels, so these figures are subject to change based on your solar PV system size. These prices do not include accessories such as a microinverter or solar batteries.
Solar Panel Cost by Quality
Premium solar panels will cost more upfront than the average or budget option, but this investment can also pay off when it comes to lifespan and efficiency. If you’re willing to pay more upfront, premium solar panel installation can help you maximise your returns.
These prices are higher than the previous tables as they include the benefits of having a ‘higher end’ PV system. The cost typically includes a larger warranty period, a larger technical arsenal at your disposal, and panels that are manufactured by the best brands in the solar industry.
Below are the average prices for ‘premium’ solar panel offer from installers in major Australian cities.
|AVERAGE PREMIUM SOLAR PANEL COST BY CITY (JUNE 2022)|
What Affects the Price of Solar Panel Installation?
The main factors that affect the price of solar panel installation are:
- System size
- Location in Australia
- Grid dependency
- Solar installer
- Available incentives, rebates and tariffs
Solar panel installation has several factors that make up the initial investment cost. Wattage, efficiency, size of the system and any accompanying accessories, as well as the materials the PV panels are made of, all play a role.
To assist with the large initial cost of the system and installation, government programs and incentives exist and offer generous discounts, both on a federal and state level.
Other factors affecting the cost of solar panels in Australia include the strength of the Australian dollar, wholesale equipment costs, cheap solar and competition, and limited-time solar rebates.
Size & Wattage of System
The size and wattage of a solar system will affect the cost of your solar panel installation. Higher wattage solar systems are made up of more solar panels and require a lengthier installation process, which comes at an additional cost.
Larger solar systems will require more solar panels to maintain a desirable output. Increasing the size of the system’s output can be done in a couple of ways: increasing the amount of smaller solar panels or configuring a system of larger, more expensive solar panels. Whichever way you slice it, larger, higher output systems mean more expensive initial investments.
The optimal size of the solar system you choose should produce the minimum amount of electric output required to maintain your quality of life. Having top-of-the-line products and larger PV panels requires a bigger initial investment but promises a larger return on investment and lower electricity bills in the long run.
Larger systems may require a solar PV monitoring system to be installed, increasing the overall cost of installation. Also, installation companies may charge a higher price if the installation is extensive.
Brand & Type of Solar Panel
If you’re looking for a higher quality installation, you will have to put down a larger initial investment. There are several brands that have been trendsetters in the PV solar industry, and received industry acclaim with good reason.
Many Australians believe a low-cost solar system will serve the purpose and seek to make a smaller initial investment. Though a cheaper system may meet your needs, the lower price tag costs you more money over time. Cheap PV systems often have long-term engineering issues and could cause you to pay more for maintenance or even a new installation!
Premium solar panels are created with better materials and higher attention to detail in manufacturing, creating a higher ROI and fewer engineering failures. Remember, too, that premium solar panels often come with longer warranty periods and peace of mind. Higher quality solar panel systems may come with features exclusive to the model or brand, and provide big benefits to the customer compared to a cheap solar panel installation project.
Avoiding cheap solar companies may seem costly at first, but doing research into their offerings may help you avoid getting shorted on quality engineering. A dodgy installer may dampen your quality of life by under-delivering energy-efficiency metrics of systems from a reputable servicer.
While the solar industry does have a relatively high level of consumer support and regulation, shoddy operators may offer a deal on a 6kW system that falls far below what a decent 6kW system would cost, which is around $6000 with peace-of-mind included.
What State You Are In
The state you are in can alter the cost of installation for a solar panel system, as solar rebates can be offered at the state and federal levels. In addition to the national SRES incentive, states may offer rebates, feed-in tariffs and other incentives for installing solar panels.
This assistance varies by state and eligibility criteria, so benefits will vary depending on where you’re located and what incentives are active at the time of consultation.
Feed-in tariffs for your state and region will also determine how much you receive for power exported back to the grid from the solar system. These tariffs pay solar owners for the excess energy they generate to provide a return on investment in addition to solar self-consumption.
Every state has had their own feed-in tariff programs since residential solar systems became publicly available, and feed-in tariffs are regularly updated. Typically, they are reduced over time as solar uptake increases.
For example, in Victoria, the feed-in tariff initiative started as a generous 60-cent per kWh reimbursement for power sent back to the grid in 2009. Ultimately such a rate was unsustainable and was reduced to 20 cents per kWh. Eventually, this scheme was abolished and eliminated in favour of net metering, which enables the energy retailers to provide credit for the energy exported to the grid at a rate of 9c per kWh.
Aside from government incentives, your location also impacts the costs of maintenance and initial installation. If your residential or commercial area does not have great sunlight, you may have less room for sustainable solar self-consumption or any excess to sell back to the grid.
On-Grid or Off-Grid Solar Panels
The choice between on- or off-grid solar panels will affect your installation costs. The number of additional components needed to install an off-the-grid solar system will increase your installation costs.
Solar panels being installed for independence from the grid may impact the return on investment. Not only will you need a larger and more robust system, but you won’t be able to take advantage of feed-in tariffs and sell excess electricity back to the grid.
More fiscally-conscious consumers should consider the additional costs involved in off-grid solar, which extends beyond the solar PV system itself. This often involves more household-wide adaptation, such as a hot water system being reconfigured to a heat pump to lessen electricity demand.
Ultimately, considering an on or off the grid solar PV system is up to your consumption patterns and location. In a metropolitan area where grid connection is established, you’ll likely get the best return on investment by selling power back to your retailer in addition to self-consumption.
The initial set-up and installation costs for an off-the-grid system can be prohibitive – but that’s not to say it isn’t a financially sound decision. If you’re willing to invest more upfront, off-grid solar can provide long-term stability and peace of mind.
The Tier of Your Solar Panel
Tiers here do not differentiate the quality of panels – for instance, premium vs economy. Instead, solar panel ‘tier’ refers to how stable the solar panel manufacturer is. Naturally, this has implications for manufacturing quality, as well as whether the company is in a position to honour any future warranty claims.
This label, granted by the BNEF (Bloomberg New Energy Finance) indicates the support and trust gained by manufacturers. The BNEF backing often fetches a higher price, and Tier 1 is the only label that exists in this regard.
According to BloombergNEF, Tier 1 manufacturers are those which have provided own-brand, own-manufacture products to six different projects, which have been financed successfully by six different (non-development centred) banks over the span of the past two years in operation.
Another bonus of going with a Tier 1 manufacturer is that one of the main tenets of this achievement is related to transparency and good data availability.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance does not publish Tier 2 or Tier 3 lists and ranks only manufacturers, not specific solar panel lines.
Additional Solar PV System Components
Having additional items installed with your solar system will naturally increase the installation cost. Extra components like solar battery storage will require more work and time from your solar installer, in addition to the cost of extra hardware.
There are a variety of additional components that can be added to your solar system. Although some are expensive, these items are designed to improve the performance and efficiency of your solar system.
Some of the main additional solar components you can have installed alongside your solar system include:
Solar Batteries – Solar batteries are useful for storing excess solar energy for later use. These batteries could be used for increased utilisation of gathered power, allowing greater flexibility on timing of grid power usage, and night time use of solar power from battery storage.
Solar Panel Optimisers – The optimiser’s main purpose is to adjust and manage the output of collected energy in a PV system. This usually works to increase the overall output by bypassing any solar panels that may not be working at an optimised level.
Backup Generators – An effective backup generator is crucial for those considering going off the grid with their solar panel system, as well as rural residents. Since off-the-grid solar PV systems don’t have access to the power grid, bad weather and scarce sunlight can cause chaos. If you aren’t connected to the grid, backup generators are required to keep your lights on – literally!
Choice of Suppliers and Installers
The solar installer you work with will significantly affect the cost of your solar system installation. Each company has their own pricing structure, so it’s essential to compare different solar installers, while ensuring you still choose a reliable contractor.
It’s important to note the value of a high-quality solar installer. Although there are installers for various budgets, including the cheapest of cheap, you need to consider your system’s long-term health and safety. A budget solar installer may cut corners, leaving you with expensive repairs or premature replacements to fund down the road.
A reputable and premium solar power service offers easy-to-find information about their services, offers consultations and recommendations based on your circumstances, and partners with reputable vendors, brands and installation teams.
Are Solar Panels Cost-Effective?
Solar panels are extremely cost-effective in Australia, offering the dual benefit of reducing your electricity bills and selling any excess electricity back to the grid.
As you’d expect, your location, the size and the quality of your solar system will affect how quickly they will generate the electricity needed to pay for themselves. However, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shared some great metrics on how much solar energy saves:
- Australians with residential solar panels paid 29% less for electricity after feed-in tariffs
- The average household with solar energy paid $94 less on their quarterly bill, despite using more energy from the grid
- Small businesses with solar paid 31% less for their electricity use
With a variety of government incentives and programs, and competition making solar more and more affordable in Australia, solar panels have never been more cost-effective to purchase and install.
Will Solar Panels Pay For Themselves?
Solar panels will pay for themselves over time – the typical payback period estimate is within six years, only a fraction of the typical 25-year lifespan of solar panels. However, the expected payback period will depend on many factors, including the size of your system.
One of the many advantages of solar energy is that the money you save in ongoing costs will eventually eclipse the amount you spent purchasing and installing a solar system. Your initial investment will be mitigated between solar incentives, electricity bill savings, and the profits of selling your excess power to the grid over time.
A recent analysis from Finder shows that solar panels can pay for themselves within 3-6 years of installation, leading up to potential savings of around $94,273 over 25 years.
There are resources to help you calculate how long it will be until your solar system pays itself, such as this Solar Savings Calculator. Using savings calculators can give you a general projection of how long it will take to break even on your solar PV system installation according to a wide range of variables.
How Long Will it Take My Solar System to Pay for Itself?
Solar panels will usually pay for themselves after 3-6 years, depending on your household energy consumption, the efficiency of your panels and whether or not you have a solar battery configured into your set-up.
Solar panel payback is calculated by dividing the total cost of the system (using post-rebate amount) by the energy savings your system generates per year. The Australian Energy Council estimates around three years for a 5kW system in Sydney to pay for itself as of 2020.
How Much Will I Save Each Year with Solar Panels?
In general, a good quality solar system will save you $400 per year for each kW your system can produce. However, your electricity usage, the brand and size of your solar system, and accessories like solar batteries, will all affect how much you can save.
Solar panel savings can fluctuate depending on your electricity usage, your power costs, and whether or not you have a battery storage system. The general idea is that if your system can make enough electricity, you will purchase less from the grid and increase your savings.
Living in an area with higher gas or electricity costs, or higher tariffs increases the value of your system. Battery storage ensures that all the power you generate can be stored for later use or sold back to the grid, earning you credit. Without it, you’re practically giving away money!
Are Solar Panels the Cheapest Way to Power Your Home?
Although solar has a higher initial investment than other home power sources, the cost of solar has dropped by 90% over the past ten years. Further, solar is projected to drop by another 15-25% by 2030, according to a report released by Wood Mackenzie, making it the cheapest and most environmentally-friendly way to power your home.
The International Energy Agency’s conclusion in its World Outlook 2020 is that solar is around 20-50% cheaper in 2020 compared to its 2019 outlook, region depending, and is the cheapest way to add electricity in many markets globally.
Similarly, there are large reductions in offshore and on-shore wind networks. Renewables should meet the majority of new electricity demand by around 2030, accounting for 80% of renewable industry growth, with hope of overtaking coal as the dominant industry by 2025.
How Do I Save More Money With My Solar Panels?
To see the biggest impact from your solar panels, clear the area around them to ensure they have as much sunlight as possible, and add a solar battery to your system.
The efficiency of your solar panels is directly affected by how much sunlight they are able to absorb. If your solar panels are covered or obscured by trees, they will get less sunlight, produce less energy, and save you less money. Clearing overhanging trees will significantly improve your solar system’s efficiency.
Another key addition to your solar system is a solar battery. Although it may seem counterintuitive, purchasing a solar battery will save you a lot of money over time. The solar battery will store excess energy generated throughout the day, which can then be used at night or on the weekend when the demand is higher. This will reduce the amount you spend on electricity drawn from the grid when your solar panels aren’t producing enough power.
Do Solar Panels Increase Property Value?
Yes, a study from RealEstate.com.au found that 85% of Aussies identify solar panels as increasing property value. 57% of Australians would pay up to $10,000 more for a home with solar. Momentum Energy quantified this as an additional $6,000 value per kW of solar panel, and solar reduces the time to sell by 20%.
Three quarters of renters would also pay more for a property with solar panels, meaning installing solar in an investment property offers multiple financial benefits. As one in four Australian homes now have solar installed, this attractive feature helps your home sell more quickly and at a higher price.
This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. JFK Electrical does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. It does not constitute a quote or estimate for any specific project. Always seek personalised advice on solar energy to ensure any recommendations suit your property and scenario.
John Lyons, the owner of JFK Electrical Solar & Air, started his career in the electrical industry in 1997. With years of experience gained in the industry across multiple continents, he relocated to Australia and decided to specialise in solar and air conditioning. After deciding he wanted to be closer to his family, John began his own local electrical business in Mandurah, using his extensive knowledge and training in the industry. At JFK, John’s number one goal is to provide tailored solutions to his customers. And thanks to his experience and commitment to his customers, JFK Electrical is now one of the most trusted local businesses in Mandurah for solar and electrical services.