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Solar Panel Installation Cost
Updated: 27 February 2020
The cost of installing a solar panel system will depend on the size of the system you need, the company used to install the system, and the size of the rebate your state gives.
The average cost of a 5kW solar system installed is $4,633. Priced quoted by companies always include installation.
The cost of solar panel systems by installers is the price after the government rebate has been applied/ deducted.
The solar rebate or also known as STC scheme refers to the incentive the government gives you when you install a solar system in your home.
The rebate given by state governments varies depending on these three main factors; Number of solar panels you are buying, your location, and year of installation.
⦁ Number of solar panels you are buying – depends on the kW size you want for your home. The rebate applies only for solar systems below 99.9 kW.
⦁ Location – the sunnier your location is, the bigger solar rebate you will get. Your postcode is needed to calculate for the solar rebate as they have already divided it into four zones in Australia.
⦁ Year of installation – the solar rebate is being phased out every year. Meaning, if you install your solar system next year, you will get less solar rebate than this year. It is reduced every year until it goes to zero.
Below are some pointers of the cost of solar by system and house size with the average yearly savings and cost per state:
Cost of solar by system and house size
|Home Size||System size||No. of panels||System cost||Average yearly saving|
|Small - Med||2KW||8||$3,121||$986|
|Med - Large||4KW||16||$4,201||$1,971|
Cost of solar by state
|New South Wales||$2,950||$3,230||$3,690||$4,055||$4,450||$5,166|
|Aust. Capital Territory||$2,770||$3,080||$3,740||$4,180||$4,560||$5,810|
|Avg. of All combined||$2,909||$3,211||$3,655||$4,201||$4,633||$5,466|
What else might affect the cost of solar installation?
Every office or home have different electric requirements and the exact cost of going solar cannot be determined that easily. A lot of process goes into computing the exact cost of installing your solar system. Installing your solar system comes with factors that can affect its overall cost as well.
These are some of the factors:
Power consumption and electrical demand
You need to calculate how much electricity a resident consumes per month to determine the solar system size you need for your home and the number of panels. If you have a lot of electrical appliances in your home like, water heater, electric stove, air conditioning, washing machine, electronic gadgets, refrigerator, and etc., your power consumption will most likely be higher and the size of your solar system you need will be larger.
To get an idea, look through your electrical bills over the course of a year and calculate the average monthly electricity consumption.
If your roof is small, the amount of space available for solar panels will be lesser than bigger roofs. The smaller array you have, the less the cost of your solar installation since less time and equipment will be needed for installation. As suggested, you’ll get the best performance of solar panels if they are in a 30-degree angle and facing south or west since it will be facing the sun. You’ll get the most electricity for your home and avoid any reduced output. If your roof is flat, then your solar installer can install brackets to make your solar panels in the right angle to get the best exposure of the sun’s light. Another factor is the steepness of your roof. It means that if your roof is steeper, the more caution the installers need to consider while working on your roof and the more time they will take to finish the project which can add the cost to the installation.
If your roof is in no way suited for installing solar panels to work efficiently, you can customize your roof but it will add cost to your solar installation.
Let’s face it, your roof is the foundation of your solar panels. In order for your solar panels to safely stay put in the years to come, your roof must be solid and strong. The stronger your roof is, the longer your solar panels will stay and provide you the electricity you need for your home.
The age and condition of your roof is important and if you assess that it can’t handle carrying your solar panels, you may need to conduct repairs or replacement that may affect the cost of your solar installation. Some things you need to check on are the following:
⦁ Age of your roof – you have to determine its age to know if it still can withstand the weight of solar panels. An old roof can crack if a heavy equipment is placed on top of it and more so if your solar panel will stay for at least 30-50 years. Also, if your roof is old and can’t stand drilling into its tiles, then you need to consider it for repair or replacement.
⦁ Loose or broken tiles – replace those which are broken and repair those which are loose.
⦁ Worn down materials – inspect if there are other parts of your roof that became fragile over time before installing your solar panels.
⦁ Sealants – sealants applied on the roof may be worn out over time so check those too if it needs reapplication or repairs.
⦁ Cracks – if there are leaks inside the house, most likely your roof has cracks and open holes that should be checked.
⦁ Roof support – check if the supports of your roof are still intact to prevent structural damage that can collapse.
Solar panel mounting hardware
Mounting hardware is also called the racking system that is used for the solar panels. It is used to put the solar panels in place to the roof. The mounting hardware differs depending on the local weather conditions, the pitch of roof, and the size of the solar array. Usually, the installers are the one who chooses the mounting hardware they will use for your solar system unless you install your own solar panels.
There are times when the demand for solar installers are high. If this happens, they tend to charge more than the usual price. Based on some suggestions, solar installers are low in demand during spring and early autumn.
Solar panel quality
Not all solar panels have the same price. If you choose a higher quality solar panel and well-known brands, the more money you have to shell out. Though these will be a great investment in the long run since you’ll save a lot more in the years to come if you purchase more efficient solar panels. You have to remember that the most expensive panels don’t necessarily mean they’re the best, so you should do a lot of research about different brands of solar panels or you can ask for a recommendation from an expert.
Solar inverter quality
Just like solar panels, solar inverters come from a variety of sizes and brands. Depending on what you will choose for your solar system, it will cost more if you buy a more popular brand. Some inverters differ in capabilities, efficiencies and ratings so it’s best to talk to a professional which inverter is most appropriate for your solar array.
Amount of rebate
As discussed in the first portion of the article, the amount of rebate differs from the area where you live, the size of your solar system, and the year of installation. The amount of rebate will affect the cost of your overall solar system installation so it is best to determine how much rebate you will get for you to calculate your overall budget.
How to find the best local installer
Now that you have made the decision to go solar, it is time to look for a solar installer. You will be using your solar system for a very long time so you have to make sure that the installer you hire is the best, has intensive knowledge and experience, reputable, licensed, and insured.
Here are tips for you to choose the best local installer in your area:
Get estimates from 3 to 5 installers – Getting quotes from multiple installers will help you see which companies are responsive and give you a background on how they provide customer service. It can help you compare prices to determine which one is more suited with your budget.
- Some companies will conduct site inspection to provide you a more accurate quotation for you. Maximize the time to ask them additional information like their permits, how many solar panels you will need based on your electricity usage per month, and if they offer workmanship warranties.
- Workmanship warranties covers you from wrong installation process committed by the installer. This will cover the repairs in the event something went wrong like loose screws of a solar panel. Also make sure that the company is capable of providing this warranty and it’s not fly by night. Check if they have a good history of conducting in the solar business.
- Another good idea is to ask recommendations from friends, neighbours, or colleagues about their solar installers. This is to make sure you get honest and great feedback about their installer’s service. A strong and solid relationship with your installer is also important to make sure you have a good communication with each other so do not only judge their experience, but also their attitude and character.
#1. Check the equipment (panels and inverter) being used – Visit their company and inspect if they have complete and right equipment to service you. Check if the panels and inverter brands they offer are a good fit for you. You can also ask their expert opinion which kind of solar system best fit your home.
#2. Check on the quality of equipment vs price – visit their company and see the quality of their equipment if it is properly maintained and properly stored and compare the quote price they gave you. This will help you decide if the quote is worth the price.
#3. Check online reviews – checking online reviews lets you know if they have good or bad reviews. These reviews can give you an idea how high or low their rating with these local installers. You must also take into account that some problems may arise so reading a not so great review may come up but also check if the company did anything to correct this negative experience so you’ll know if they will do it if it happens to you, too.
#4. Check ABN lookup for recent name changes to run from bad reviews – ABN stands for Australian Business Number. ABN lookup provides access to information provided by businesses when they get their ABN. You will be able to see their status and see if they changed their company name recently to run from bad reviews.
Installing a solar system in your home is a big investment and commitment, so it is crucial for you to find a good company/installer that can help you with this to provide you with accurate information regarding your solar system, as well as provide excellent service. Do thorough research and follow these tips: find a company that you can trust, an expert in the field and has the certification to conduct this kind of business, has licenses and insurance, and has a great reputation in the field of solar. As long as you follow these pointers, you won’t have to worry about your solar panels because they will be in good hands.
Author: Ben McInerney is a renewable energy enthusiast with the goal of helping more Australians understand solar systems to make the best choice before they purchase. Having an accredited solar installer in the family helps give Ben access to the correct information, which allows him to break it down and make it easily understandable to the average home owner.