Canberra, ACT is a great place to go solar in Australia, thanks primarily to the ever-improving economics of solar panel installations. This article takes a look at the some of the key considerations for going solar in Canberra, including system pricing, energy yields and incentives available to system owners. It also touches on battery storage.

Take advantage of the sun’s energy in the Australian Capital Territory

Getting the best deal on solar PV anywhere in Australia – including Canberra – means first understanding how a system benefits a home or business. Solar panels only produce electricity during sunlight hours, and how much electricity is generated depends on the intensity and duration of the sunshine.

ACT residents can benefit from solar in two ways: 1) ‘solar self-consumption‘, where you use the solar energy directly (and avoid having to pay your retailer for electricity), and 2) solar feed-in credits, where you receive a credit on your bill for ‘excess’ solar energy that you send into the grid. The combination of these two benefits helps to make solar a great investment for the ACT.

Note that the feed-in tariff rate that you receive depends on who sells you electricity (your retailer) and the plan that you’re on with that retailer. You can compare feed-in tariffs and electricity plans using the government’s EnergyMadeEasy.gov.au comparator website, or Wattever.com.au; both sites cover every pan available in Australia.

You can play with the numbers for yourself using our Solar System Payback & ROI Estimator tool

Solar Choice’s 8-point Guide to Solar & Batteries (plus FAQs)

Check out our Home Solar & Battery Guide

How much energy will a solar system produce in Canberra?

The average Canberran rooftop receives an annual average of about 4.8 hours of sun per day. This number fluctuates seasonally (higher in summer and lower in winter). Estimated daily generation figures for different size systems based on 4.8 sun hours are detailed below (minus a 25% efficiency loss). Note that ‘kilowatt-hours’ (kWh) is the same unit that you’ll see on your electricity bill; the average Australian home uses between 15-25kWh of energy per day.

How much does a solar system cost in Canberra?

Solar Choice regularly publishes articles with indicative pricing for PV systems in Australia’s capital cities (including Canberra) in our Solar PV Price Index. You can find the most recent article here, or you can get a free & instant Quote Comparison through our service by filling out the form on this page.

The table below shows how solar system price trends for Australia between August 2012 and early 2018. The prices are in dollar per watt ($/W) format and segmented by capital city (including Canberra).

Choosing the right solar system size

Because solar is affordable these days, sizing up a system for your home is not an exact science.  The most popular residential system sizes in Australia at the moment are 3kW, 4kW and 5kW; the larger the system, the less you’ll pay per watt of capacity ($/W) for comparable equipment. Any of these systems sizes could work with a household consuming the typical 15-25kWh/day – the main difference would be the financial outcomes (which we look into in a bit more detail below).

To simplify the shopping process, it may be easiest to collect quotes for these different system sizes and run the numbers for yourself. You can check out our Simple Solar System Sizing Estimator to explore different scenarios, or check out our Solar PV System Payback Estimator by clicking below.

Solar Choice payback estimator

Federal government incentives for solar in Canberra

Significant up-front incentives are available from the federal government. Technically speaking, this discount comes in the form of ‘small-scale technology certificates’ (STCs), which utility companies and other liable entities are obligated to purchase under Australia’s national Renewable Energy Target. This discount is applied directly to the purchase price of your system – there is no need to claim it, as it is passed through to you by the company that sells you the system; all you have to do is compare prices.

As an example, the benefit associated with the scheme for a 5kW solar system in Canberra is between about $2,700 and $3,380.

Is solar power worth it in Canberra?

Residents of the ACT are fortunate enough to benefit from some of the lowest grid electricity prices in the whole of Australia, with the most competitive rates coming in at about 19c/kWh. While this means that typical (pre-solar) household electricity bills in the ACT tend to be significantly less than those in QLD or NSW, it also means that finding a solar system size/price combination that works for your home may require a bit more shopping around and research than in some of the other states where much higher electricity prices mean households are scrambling for solar.

The table below examines two popular system sizes (3kW and 5kW) in an example situation to see what the payback periods and internal rate of return (IRR) would look like under two different levels of ‘self-consumption’ that would be relatively easily attainable for each system size. The aim is to present a ‘conservative’ scenario as an investment case for going solar. Note that we’ve used average solar system prices; better results may easily be achievable by shopping around.

Indicative returns for solar systems @ average Canberra prices

(Assuming 75% system efficiency, 25kWh electricity consumption/day, retail electricity @ 19c/kWh, solar feed-in rate @ 8c/kWh)

Last updated February 2018-

3kW 5kW
$4,100 $5,650
@ 30% self-consumption @ 50% self-consumption @ 20% self-consumption 40% self-consumption
~8.5 year payback ~7 year payback ~8 year payback ~6.4 year payback
~9% IRR ~13% IRR ~11% IRR ~15% IRR
~$460 annual savings ~$560 annual savings ~$690 annual savings ~$860 annual savings
LG Chem’s RESU3.3 – Silver

What about home battery storage?

The ACT is one of the few local governments in Australia to offer an incentive for home battery storage under its NextGen program. NextGen helps to reduce the cost of installing batteries, provided you go with one of the program’s handful of pre-selected providers. This is a fantastic program that makes battery storage worth looking into for Canberrans and which we hope will be emulated by other state & territory governments going forward.

You can read more about battery storage in Canberra a few related articles of ours:

Finding the best solar deals in Canberra

Solar Choice provides free advice and quote comparisons for customers across Australia. Our goal is to help customers to find the best deals on offer anywhere in the country – including Canberra, ACT.

Solar Choice’s 8-point Guide to Solar & Batteries (plus FAQs)

Check out our Home Solar & Battery Guide

Ready to shop for solar? Compare solar & battery storage quotes from installers in your area.

Compare Solar & Battery Quotes

© 2018 Solar Choice Pty Ltd 

{ 6 comments }

Adam or Su 29 April, 2017 at 2:12 pm

Am in ACT and looking for someone to look at my solar system we believe the readings haven’t changed since the last bill and last quarter we didn’t get discount which indicate the system might be faulty or something . Thanks

Solar Choice Staff 1 May, 2017 at 11:22 am

Hi Adam. Who installed your system? They’d be the best ones to reach out to as a first port of call.

Rikitan 29 September, 2016 at 8:51 pm

I have a PV panels on my roof – 48 of them. All is almost perfect EXCEPT for the leaking roof due to a shoddy installation. Roof leaks only during a heavy rain and if there is a moderate to strong wind. By the way, the roof was retailed about one year prior to installation of the PV panels, therefore, it did not leak before.
DO you have any advice who can correct the installation here in the ACT?

Solar Choice Staff 4 October, 2016 at 10:15 am

Hi Rikitan,

Can you check back with the installer who put the system up? That would be the best place to start.

Steven Hartley 28 September, 2016 at 11:23 am

Hi . I have 2kw solar system at the moment. Looking to put batteries in. But l have been told that the system needs to at lease 5 kw. The panels are 12off 175kw with 2.4 sma inverter . Would it be better to upgrade to 5kw inverter and add extra panels
or just put another 2.5kw system on? I believe that the panels i have are not made anymore ( schott 175 ) so can you add larger panels together with the old system?
Can you please direct me in the right direction.
thanks steve

Solar Choice Staff 29 September, 2016 at 10:03 am

Hi Steve,

We recommend speaking with an accredited solar installer for more precise details, but here is our general guidance in response to your questions.

-You could potentially have batteries with a 2kW solar system, but the battery bank would have to be quite small for your solar to be able to fill it up completely. There are lots of battery storage products out there, however, so make sure that you consider more than the product you’ve been recommended.

Two resources of ours that you might want to make use of:

-Our Battery Storage Sizing & Payback Estimator Tool will let you explore a variety of system sizes & configurations to help you give yourself a general idea of what you need. (Its limitations are explained on the calculator page.)

-Check out our Battery Storage Product Performance Comparison Tool, which contains a wide range of products currently available on the market and their respective sizes.

About upgrading & swapping the inverter: If your existing inverter is still under warranty, you might be better of having a new, separate system installed alongside the existing one. If it’s getting on in its years, however, you might want to consider upgrading it and adding new panels. The new, larger inverter will need to be able to take in two different strings of panels (ask how many maximum power point trackers the inverter has – your installer should know). Another option if your inverter is getting old is to replace it with a new, similar size inverter and have any new panels added to your home with microinverters, which are installed on the roof inside or next to the new panels. The advantage of doing so is that you wouldn’t need to worry about adding a second central inverter – plus you’d be able to add as many or as few new panels as necessary.

If you’re looking for quotes on solar or battery storage systems, please fill out the Quote Comparison Request form to the right of this page. By doing so, you’ll be able to compare prices on a range of products & system sizes from installers in your area.

Hope this helps you out!

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