How much does solar cost?

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Solar sounds pretty good so far, doesn’t it?

You can save money…get more independence from your retailer…know you’re making a difference to future generations – but let us guess… you want to know how much it costs?

Well, let’s get started.

One of the first things you’ll notice when you start getting quotes, is that the prices of solar can differ wildly. In fact, sometimes there can be differences in thousands of dollars between each quote.

Confusing, right?

So why does the price vary so dramatically and what should you be paying?

Here are some of the main reasons.

Quality of the panels you choose

Like anything, the quality of solar panels can vary significantly. These days, you can get anything from super cheap panels that are best to avoid, to middle of the range reliable panels, to high-end premium panels with a 25-year product warranty. As you can imagine, premium panels will cost you more than budget panels. And guess what? The same thing applies with inverters.

Whether you choose a micro inverter system or string inverter system

Yesterday in our how solar works video, you might remember Lucy talking about two different types of systems – one with a central inverter known as a string system (shown in the pic) vs a panel-optimised system (where there is a small micro-inverter or optimiser on each panel). Depending on which type you choose – the price of your system can vary significantly. Think $2,000 more expensive for a panel-optimised system.

Installation

Installation is the other thing that can influence the cost. Some of the things that might make your system more expensive include difficulty accessing your roof, if your switchboard needs upgrading, or homes with long distances between where the panels will be placed and the electrical switchboard.

Make sense?

So let’s look at a 5kW system – the most commonly installed size in Australia these days.

For a system that is good quality with reputable solar panels and inverter and a standard installation – here’s what you can expect to pay.

  • Good quality panels with a string inverter: $6,500 – $8,000
  • Good quality panels with a panel-optimised inverter: $8,000 – $9,500

But I’ve seen ads for cheaper?

Once you start shopping around for solar, it’s likely you’ll come across some really cheap deals (think 6kW for $3,000!).

Are these deals worth going for?

We know they can seem tempting, but it’s best to avoid these cheap offers. If they sound too good to be true, we’re sorry to say – they usually are. Chances are they’re offering you poor quality gear (i.e. cheap panels and inverters), there’s greater risk the supplier will go out of business as their margins are so low ,and most importantly, the installation might be sub-par putting both your system and at home at risk.

That’s why if the price is much lower than the recommended price ranges – it’s best to avoid the offer.

But want to hear some good news?

There are generous rebates on offer from both state and federal governments, making high-quality solar even more affordable. Phew.

Stay tuned for tomorrow as we discuss everything rebates – what’s on offer, whether you’re eligible and how you can claim them.

In the meantime, if you want to know which panel and inverter brands we think are good quality, and some more info about the difference between string and panel-optimised inverters – check out our solar buyer’s guide.