How much does a 3kW solar system cost in Australia, and how much energy can you expect it to produce? This article takes a look a these questions, as well as returns and payback periods for 3kW solar systems.
(This article was originally published in 2012 – we’ve recently updated it to reflect how circumstances have changed!)
Price ranges for 3kW solar PV systems
Solar PV system prices in Australia have dropped significantly in recent years – from a national average of about $2.25 per watt (about $6,000 for a 3kW system) in 2012 to around $1.60/W (around $4,900) at the beginning of 2016 – a reduction of about 30%. Solar Choice knows this because we’ve been tracking PV system installation prices in Australia since August of 2012 in our monthly Solar PV Price Index articles.
The first chart below shows how average 3kW solar system installation prices have changed since then, while the other two tables offer a snapshot of solar PV system prices from January 2016.
3kW solar PV system installation price trends from August 2012 to January 2016. (Data from the Solar Choice installer network.)
Average solar PV installation prices as of January 2016 for select Australian capital cities.Average, high and low 3kW solar PV system installation prices for select Australian capital cities. Prices are from January 2016 and are in dollar-per-watt ($/W) format.
Want to learn more about solar system pricing in your area?You can receive a free and instant comparison of solar system quotes for 3kW solar systems by filling out the form to the right of this page!
Power output for a typical 3kW solar system
How much solar energy will a 3kW solar system produce? That depends on a number of situational factors such as location, orientation & tilt of the panels, the presence or absence of shading and the overall efficiency of the components in the system are chief among them.
It’s convenient to summarise solar system output in a single figure – namely, kilowatt-hours per day (kWh/day). But the reality is that most locations receive more sunshine in the summer than in the winter; accordingly, PV system energy yields will usually be higher in the summer and lower in the winter.
The table below provides some rough figures on average daily outputs from 3kW solar systems in a handful of Australia’s capital cities, as well as the average outputs in summer and winter. All situations assume north-facing aspect, panels tilted at latitude and an overall system efficiency of 85%. (Data source: PVWatts.)
| Indicative 3kW solar system output for select Australian cities
Examples using Solar Choice’s solar power system ROI calculator
Using Solar Choice’s Solar PV System Return on Investment Calculator, we’ve calculated payback periods, annual internal rates of return (IRR) and annual savings (in year 1) using 3kW solar systems for common usage situations in some major cities. The examples are below – please keep in mind that the figures in the table are indicative only and will vary depending on system installation price and your individual circumstances.
Indicative returns for 3kW solar systems @ average prices
(Assuming 25kWh electricity consumption/day @ 25c/kWh)
|@ 50% self-consumption||@ 70% self-consumption||@ 50% self-consumption||@ 70% self-consumption|
|~7.1 year payback||~5.9 year payback||~6.2 year payback||~5.1 year payback|
|~13% IRR||~17% IRR||~15% IRR||~19% IRR|
|~$668 annual savings||~$820 annual savings||~$700 annual savings||~$860 annual savings|
|@ 50% self-consumption||@ 70% self-consumption||@ 50% self-consumption||70% self-consumption|
|~7.4 year payback||~6.1 year payback||~4.8 year payback||~3.9 year payback|
|~12% IRR||~16% IRR||~21% IRR||~26% IRR|
|~$650 annual savings||~$790 annual savings||~$782 annual savings||~$950 annual savings|
Want to learn more? Try plugging some figures into our solar system ROI calculator yourself! Self-consumption is just one of the variables that can be adjusted to determine your likely payback time and return on investment. (Calculator outputs are indicative only–please keep in mind that electricity rates and feed-in tariff rates may change over time.)
© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd