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

Rebecca Boyle

Rebecca Boyle

Rebecca is a sustainable development and marketing graduate, with a background in community engagement and research. She has a particular interest in sustainable resource use.
Rebecca Boyle

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

brenden October 26, 2014 at 10:22 pm

hi, i was wondering if you can help me figure out a small dellama i have.
i have a
75w lcd tv 12hrs
xbox360 12 hrs
2 laptops 24hrs
1 pedestal fan 24 hrs
average sized bar fridge 24/7

what will be needed to run these for an off grid set up? i have asked many people on many websites and i have been disappointed with there lack of response if any.

im sorry to have to ask you this as i am new to the idea of solar power and i have been infatuated with building an off grid setup for my trailer (pretty much moveable solar station)

thank you so much for at least reading this, a reply of any sort would be greatly appreciated however a reply detailing what im asking for would be golden and it would actually make my week (been very frustrated trying to figure this out)

again thank you
B

Reply

Solar Choice Staff October 29, 2014 at 7:42 am

Hi Brenden,

We wrote this article a while back about sizing a battery bank for an off-grid solar system–it might be worth a read. As for the rest of the details–such as the size of the PV array required to power the equipment–I’d recommend getting quotes, either from us (fill out this form) or from an off-grid solar specialist who can customise a system for you.

Best of luck!

Reply

Mustafa September 5, 2015 at 6:06 pm

Hi Brenden.
First I need to ask you a few questions too.
How much power does one laptop of yours consume ?
How much does the fan consume ?
Assuming that your laptops consume 100W each, the Xbox consumes 180W and the fan of yours consume 60W (It might not be that much but let’s just say), your total energy consumption throughout a span of 24 hours = 75*12+180*12+100*2*24+60*24 = 9.3 kWh.
Now assuming that you get 7 hours of good sunshine everyday, you’ll need a 9.3/7 = 1.328 kW system.
So I’d advise you to go for a standard 1.5 kW system. The batteries and inverter would cost you separately.
Contact your nearest solar supplier and ask them what the rates of Solar panels are and what their size is to see if you have enough space to add them on top of your vehicle.
Solar panels are usually available in 10W to 300W panels and costed as per wattage of the panel you take.

Reply

Trevor Schorer May 13, 2015 at 6:31 pm

I have put back 87 on one bi-monthly bill and 26 on the latest is this normal
I have 8 panel, 190 watt inverter 1.5kw

Thanks

Trevor

Reply

Solar Choice Staff May 14, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Hi Trevor,

How much of your solar power that you send into the grid monthly vs how much you ‘self-consume’ depends not only on the size of the system you have, but also the type of metering setup you have (do you have ‘gross metering’ which sends all of your solar into the grid, or ‘net metering’ which sends only what you do not use back?) and how much electricity you use during the day.

Assuming you are on a net metering setup, the fact that you sent back 87kWh of solar to the grid in the last period and then 26kWh the next could indicate that either you are consuming more of your solar power during the daylight hours (and therefore have left over to send into the grid) or that your overall solar energy output is decreasing.

If you are on a gross metering arrangement, then we can conclude that the amount of power your system is producing may be on the decline and that you should have it checked out. When was the system installed?

Hope this helps. Best of luck with your system!

Reply

leanne March 10, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Hi I just moved into a new house and it came with 1.5 kw pv solar system. There are two boxes on the house one is an on off switch the other larger box has grid connected inverter written on it. When I turn it on the red alarm light is on do I need to add somethingto the system to make it work very confusing.

Reply

Solar Choice Staff March 10, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Hi Leanne,

It’s probably worth getting it checked out by an accredited solar installer – there could be an issue with the system. Was there any paperwork or other information left for you about the system? One company that provides solar PV system post-installation services is SolarSafe. You can reach them on 1300 790 790.

Reply

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