Melbourne solar panels: Compare system prices and installers

Are solar panels still worth the investment in Melbourne? It would seem so: Tens of thousands of Victorian households have installed solar PV systems in the last few years alone, with 10-20% of homes in the Melbourne area now meeting at least part of their energy needs with the sun. This article takes a look at the case for solar power in Melbourne, Victoria.

Interested in solar power for your Melbourne-based business? See our article on Commercial Solar Power in Melbourne.

4 Reasons to Go Solar in Melbourne, Victoria

1. Harness the sun to power your home

Australia is home to some of the best solar energy resources in the world. Although Melbourne is a bit further south than Brisbane or Sydney, there’s still enough sunshine to make panels a worthwhile investment.

According to PVWatts, a typical Melbourne home’s roof receives about 4.8 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of raw sunshine per square meter per day, while the BOM.gov.au website averages work out to about 4.18kWh. Essential, this sunlight is the ‘fuel’ for the system. If a solar PV system could be 100% efficient (which is not physically possible), a 1 kilowatt (kW) solar system in Melbourne would produce between 4.18kWh – 4.8kWh of energy per day, and a 2kW system would produce between 8.36kWh – 9.6kWh per day.

In real life, however, there are efficiency losses that must be taken into account between the time the sun hits your panels and when it exits the system’s inverter. The table below shows rough daily energy output figures for a range of popular solar system sizes if installed on a north-facing roof in the Melbourne area, assuming an efficiency loss of about 25% (to be conservative).

Approx daily solar PV system yields in Melbourne (Popular system sizes, at 85% efficiency)
Solar system size (kilowatts)
Avg daily system output (kilowatt-hours)
1.5kW4.7kWh – 5.4kWh
2kW6.3kWh – 7.2kWh
3kW9.4kWh – 10.8kWh
4kW12.5kWh – 14.4Wh
5kW15.7kWh -18.5kWh
7kW21.9kWh – 25.2kWh
10kW31.4kWh – 36kWh

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How solar energy saves you money

When you are grid-connected with no solar system, you have to purchase all of your electricity from an energy retailer. Typically, you will pay at least 21c for every kilowatt-hour that you use.

Having solar panels will allow you to save money by reducing your need to purchase energy from the grid – every unit of solar energy that you ‘self-consume’ in your home is a unit that you do not need to pay for. You can also earn credits (a minimum of 9.9c/kWh, but from 1 July 2019 this minumum will chance to 12c/kWh) for selling your energy into the grid, but you’ll save far more money by focusing on maximising your solar self-consumption.

There are two ways to ensure you’re using as much of your solar energy as possible: 1) Make sure your system is the right size for your home, and 2) Know your electricity consumption pattern and behave accordingly.

We have developed a tool to help you select a solar PV system size based on the amount of energy that you consume and your consumption pattern:

Check out our Solar PV System Sizing Estimator Tool here

Solar system sizing calculator Brisbane screenshot

Compare quotes from up to 7 installers in your area now.

 

2. Solar incentives through the federal government

Although Victoria no longer has a state-based feed-in tariff incentive, the federal government’s Renewable Energy Target contains a mechanism that reduces the up-front cost of solar installations under 100kW in capacity.

The actual value of the incentive depends on a number of factors such as location and system size, but usually works out to be about 30% of the total installation cost. This incentive has been crucial in making Australia home to some of the lowest solar PV system prices in the world.

As an example, when this incentive is applied to a 5kW solar system in Melbourne, it results in a reduction of $2,300 to $2,900 off the sticker price.

Read more about incentives available for rooftop solar under the Renewable Energy Target

3. Solar is affordable

Thanks in great part to the RET and the Victorian State scheme, Melbourne is home to some of the lowest PV system installation prices in the world – one of the reasons that there is such a large amount of rooftop solar installed across the state. Solar Choice has been tracking price trends in Australia’s capital cities since 2012 in our monthly Solar PV Price Index.

The chart below tracks average solar system prices in Australia from August 2012 to early 2019. Average prices for Melbourne are represented by the light blue line. (Note that all prices are in dollars-per-watt ($/W) format to make it easy to compare pricing across system sizes.)

Compare quotes from up to 7 installers in your area now.

 

4. Solar panels offer a great return in Melbourne

Melbourne homes can save hundreds of dollar per year by installing a solar PV system – which, when combined with the low system prices discussed above – translates into payback periods as short as 3-5 years, depending on how much of the solar energy your home manages to use directly. Keep in mind, however, that while lower prices don’t always necessarily mean lower quality, they should be approached with a healthy degree of caution; a solar PV system should continue to produce power for up to 25 years (with inverter replacements every 7-13 years). Any system downtime (due to component failure, for example) will result in extended payback periods – not to mention the costs that may be incurred for repairs/replacements not covered under warranty.

The table below provides an overview of the case for investing in systems of various sizes in the Melbourne area. The table below uses average system prices – keep in mind that lower system prices will deliver more impressive returns. Furthermore, we use generally conservative figures for the example below – including an efficiency rate of 75% and ‘high’ and ‘low’ solar-self consumption scenarios for each system size.

You can play with the numbers yourself using Solar Choice’s Solar System Payback & ROI Estimator tool, which will allow you to adjust variables such as system size and self-consumption ratio.

Indicative returns for solar systems @ average Melbourne prices

– Last updated March 2019 –

3kW5kW
$4,260$5,550
@ 40% self-consumption@ 80% self-consumption@ 20% self-consumption60% self-consumption
~7 year payback~5.3 year payback~6.5 year payback~4.8 year payback
~12% IRR~17% IRR~14% IRR~21% IRR
~$641 annual savings~$825 annual savings~$958 annual savings~$1,269 annual savings

*(Assuming 75% system efficiency, 25kWh electricity consumption/day, retail electricity @ 21c/kWh, solar feed-in rate @ 11.3c/kWh)

Calculate indicative solar power system returns & payback periods for Melbourne

calculator icon

 

What about battery storage for Melbourne homes?

One way to increase solar self-consumption is to have a battery storage system installed. Although batteries can still be quite pricey, they are quickly becoming more affordable. Read more about battery storage in Melbourne or check out our analysis: Is home battery storage worth it 2019?

Compare quotes from up to 7 pre-vetted installers in your area now.

Since 2008 our knowledge and sophisticated software has allowed over 160,000 Australian households and businesses to make a well-informed choice on their solar & battery installer.

© 2019 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Comments

  1. i want to know if its possible to add a wind generator to an exciting solar system on the grid. surely theirs a way to obtain the same watts /amps from the generator as what the solar panels are producing .
    thanks

    1. Hi Steve,

      A wind generator would generally require its own inverter, although there are some speciality products out there that will do both solar and wind at the same time.

  2. looking at the last 3 bills I see that we use between 4 – 5 kW/h per day
    What size system would be suitable for us in Melbourne, allowing for the possibility of battery storage add-on later
    David Rees

    1. Hi David,

      Congrats on your very low level of energy consumption! Pretty impressive.

      I’d recommend that you check out two of our tools: 1) Our Simple Solar System Sizing Estimator Tool, and b) our Solar & Battery Storage System Sizing Estimator Tool. While neither of these will give you a definitive answer to your question (talk to your installer for something closer to that), they will give you ballpark figures.

      You can also request solar & battery quotes by filling out our form to the right of this page.

  3. I have 2 systems on my home. 1 is directed East and the other is directed West.
    We were not happy that the West profile was correct and when we asked for advise we were told that we would void our warranty should we change, so we bought an additional system.
    Given the returns the East facing produces far more Ray’s than the other.
    Could we get this West facing lot moved or elevated so that we would get better results?

    1. Hi Fred,

      Have you checked for shading on the western array? Or is it a problem with the orientation of the panels (I imagine they might be facing slightly south-west as opposed to due west?)

      Could be a costly operation to move the panels over to the east side, but wouldn’t know until you got some quotes from an installer. And even if you did move them you might still have the same issue with voiding your warranty.

      What sort of output are you seeing form the west-facing array vs east-facing?

  4. We’ve recently moved into a property with an older 2kw grid connect system. However, the panels are mounted almost flat and are facing east. Would it be worth getting someone to re-mount them on a tilt frame and turn them to face north?

    1. Hi Phil,

      It’s probably a good thing that they’re nearly flat if they’re east-facing, as they’ll be able to capture more of the sun during the day. I ran some quick numbers using PVWatts and can see that you’d generate about an extra 300kWh of solar energy per year if you remount them facing north and at 37 degrees (Melbourne latitude).

      This would mean about $75 additional savings per year or about $750 over the next 10 years if you manage to use all of the solar energy produced (and less if you’re sending some of your solar energy into the grid). If you can have the panels re-mounted for significantly less than that, it might be worth your time but my feeling is you’re probably better leaving them as they are.

      (P.S. I’m assuming that you’re not currently receiving one of Victoria’s legacy feed-in tariffs, but realistically it shouldn’t make much of a difference with regard to my conclusions here.)

      Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks. Yep, i do get over 60cents kwh but i never actually export. Im lucky to produce 3 kwh a day. Hardly worth having solar. Thanks anyway. much appreciated

        1. No problem, Phil. If you’re interested in having someone out to have a look at it, I know that SolarSafe specialise in post-installation servicing.

  5. I have just moved into a house in Sunbury Victoria which has a Solax battery system but the previous owner has not left me any documentation. I live in Sunbury, VIC if you are able to provide me with any help.

    Thanks
    Tom Thurtell

  6. Do you fit batteries(7kw) to 3 year old running 3kw solar system mains connected using model 5kw SOLAR RIVER 5400TL-D
    Q. 1 would I need a new control unit COST $..
    2 batteries 6-7 kw COST $…..
    3 instillation cost if not included &…
    4 is all automatic in use.
    Ian…….

    1. Hi Ian,

      To get pricing through our system, please complete your details in the Quote Comparison Request form to the right of this page. All the prices you see will be inclusive of GST and installation. We do not sell products on their own or keep any stock – we’re a brokerage & comparison service working with a network of companies around Australia.

  7. We want to move our solar electricity system to a new house as the old house is being demolished who can do this for us and what are the costs

  8. Hello, I have recently moved into a property in Wodonga which has solar panels and a Growatt Invertor. This is my first experience with Solar Panels but I have noticed the red fault light is on and the watt figure is not increasing. Could you please contact me or advise who I could contact in my area. Phone 040136574. Thank you.

  9. These sites have production/benefit from the Solar panels in States ect. We need more information on batteries and volumes and installation, even how to get intouch with a company that will go through the transfer to Solar/Wind/Batteries not just the information of what is happening over seas. We need to be able to install batteries to the investment we have already made. People-power can raise awareness, to get this done, tell us what the holdup is. Thank-you

    1. Hi Dev,

      There is certainly plenty of interest in battery storage for solar here in Austalia – and people are having systems installed. Solar Choice has recently launched a free and impartial battery storage comparison platform which allows our customers to instantly shop around for energy storage solutions on offer through installers in their area.

      At the moment, it’s not set up for people who already have a solar system (only for people who are shopping for both solar and storage), but if you’d like us to let you know this service becomes available with preexisting solar systems, let us know and we’ll add your email address to our mailing list.

      In the meantime, best of luck!

  10. My growatt solar system have been installed by years ago.but it does not work properly,it always reconnect,what is wrong whit it?

Comments are closed.