Three of the most commonly asked questions for any residential or commercial property owner looking to go solar are: ‘How much does a solar system cost?’; ‘How much power will my solar PV system produce?’ and ‘What are the financial returns on a 1.5kW solar PV system?’. Due to an influx of low cost Chinese manufactured panels there has been a significant drop in the price of solar power systems, even in the last six months. This and the rising price of electricity mean that there has never been a better time to invest in solar PV.
Cost of 1.5kW solar systems
Solar Choice has been monitoring the average cost of solar PV systems for some time through our Solar Price Index. The cost of a solar PV (photovoltaics) system has dropped significantly, largely due to an influx of low cost Chinese manufactured components as a result of over production of solar panels in China in the past few years. While this has benefitted customers with the retail price of solar PV systems reducing by around 45% per year many of the manufacturers offering the cheapest components are, or have already, gone out of business leaving customers without a warranty. While some companies are currently offering 1.5kW systems for under $500 these systems are produced using low cost, low quality products, that will fail within 10 years meaning that the real cost of your system is higher than a system made using quality products that will last for 25 years.
Using information from Solar Choice’s 100+ network of installers the average retail price of a standard 1.5kW solar PV system fully installed is around $2.38 per watt, this is after federal government solar rebates are taken into account. These rebates offer customers upfront discount based on the expected energy production of their system over 15 years. Within the 1.5kW range there is much variation, lower cost systems come in at just under $2,000 and the most expensive coming in at just over $6,000. All of these systems are Clean Energy Council Accredited, as are the installers.
If you want to receive a free and instant quote comparison for 1.5kW solar systems simply complete the form to the right of this page and then check your inbox.
Power output from a 1.5kW solar PV system
The power output of a 1.5kW solar power system will vary due to a number of factors including:
-The expected daily and annual solar irradiation and, the average cloud cover levels at your location;
–Orientation and tilt angle – a good installer will be able to help you ensure you have these maximised;
–Shading -even partial shading over your panel will dramatically reduce it’s output;
-Operating temperature of the panels;
-Inverter capacity and solar panel array capacity are accurately matched, and;
-The quality and performance of the individual components–i.e. the panels and the inverter. Better quality components will perform better and save more money in the long term.
Based on optimisation of the factors above and a perfectly efficient 1.5kW solar system a home owner in the Sydney area could expect to produce 6kWh of clean energy per day. (Figures are average only, more power will be produced during the summer months and less during the winter.)
Financial returns for 1.5kW solar systems
As we mentioned previously, customers benefit from Federal Government Solar Rebates helping them reduce the cost of investing in a system. Those who have been considering solar PV for some time may be aware that state feed-in tariffs have significantly decreased over the past 18months, with the common misconception that there is ‘no point’ in investing in a solar PV system. With energy costs increasing regularly, solar PV is an excellent means of offsetting your energy usage and taking control of your electricity bill.
When Solar Choice works with a customer, helping them decided what is the best solar PV system and installer for their needs, one of the first questions we ask is about energy usage. At the present time, the ideal situation for most customers is the installation of a system that will meet the majority, or all of, their day time energy needs (as the panels don’t generate at night). This will allow customers to reduce their energy bills, paying the system off and saving hundreds of dollars every year. Although initially costing slightly more a good quality system will be cheaper in the long run as it continues to produce energy for 25 years.
To get some indication of the Return on Investment (ROI) for a 1.5kW system you can download the Solar Choice ROI calculator (Excel spreadsheet file). In order to populate the spreadsheet you can get the information for your area from the following sources.
1. If you haven’t already, fill in the form to the right of the page and receive your Solar Quote Comparison complete with system prices,
2. Visit a energy comparison site, such as SwitchWise, to find the best deal on solar electricity,
3. Change the variables in the lighter blue boxes (system size, system price, etc) in column B to calculate system Return on Investment (ROI).
4. The spread sheet will automatically work out how many years it will take to pay the system off, your annual percentage ROI and the annual savings your solar PV system will generate.
*Calculator outputs are indicative only–please keep in mind that electricity rates and Feed-in Tariff rates may change over time.
© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
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