We’ve introduced some major improvements to this month’s Solar PV Price Index. Namely:

  • We’ve added 7kW solar systems to all tables
  • We’ve included in new tables & data for ‘premium’ and ‘microinverter’ system offerings
  • We’ve drawn clearer distinctions between ‘primary’, ‘premium’ and ‘microinverter’ pricing
  • We’ve dropped 1.5kW systems from our data tracking (because so few people actually buy them these days)

The average price per watt ($/W) for primary offerings was $1.32 this month – a new low thanks in part to the changes in the system sizes that we include. The average for a premium system was $1.56/W, while the average for a microinverter system was $1.82/W.

Average solar PV system prices for November 2017 [Primary Offerings]

Primary offerings are the default (and most popular) type of systems that retailers and installers display on Solar Choice’s Solar Quote Comparisons (screenshot below). They are generally the most cost-effective offer from a particular installer.

Prices in the table below include both the up-front incentive available for small-scale systems through the Renewable Energy Target (STCs) and GST – they represent the total out-of-pocket cost of the system to the customer. We’ve left fields blank where there were only a small number of price points available in our database (usually fewer than 3).

Prices for each system size are colour-coded. (Dark red for highest, dark green for lowest, yellow/orange for in between).

List of products used in primary offerings

Please note that the below list is in alphabetical order and does not denote panel-inverter pairings in installer offerings.

Products used in primary offerings
Panels Inverters
BLD ABB
BYD BLD
Canadian Solar Delta
CSUN Eltek
Eging Fronius
GCL GoodWe
Hanover MASS
HT Solar SMA
Infinity Sofar Solar
JA Solar SolaX
Jinko Solar Solis
LG Solar Sungrow
Lightway Zeversolar
Opal Solar
QCells
REC
ReneSola
Risen Energy
Seraphim
Sunrise
TN Solar
Topsola
Trina

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Solar system prices for November: $/W medians, highs & lows

This month, for the first time we have incorporated ‘premium’ and ‘microinverter’ options in the below table. For more detailed pricing for premium & microinverter options, please refer to the following sections.

Prices above are colour-coded across highs, lows & medians for all cities and system sizes. (Dark red for highest, dark green for lowest, yellow for middle. Cells are grey where only a small set of data points was available. Please note that premium and microinverter options are not colour-coded.)

Premium solar system offerings for November 2017 [NEW]

Solar installers & retailers also upload pricing for ‘premium’ solar system offerings on the Solar Choice portal; these offers can then be viewed by Solar Choice customers. The definition of premium is not hard and fast, and usually comes down to the installer’s selection of components. Oftentimes, premium offers will consist of the company’s standard panel offering but a different brand of inverter – but many installers may offer a higher-end brand of panel as well.

It’s important to note that the range of products used in these systems will vary greatly, and that not all premium systems are equal in their quality; in fact, one company’s premium system may be another company’s primary offering. Be sure to do your research into the brands being offered before making your decision.

Prices in the tables below include both the up-front incentive available for small-scale systems through the Renewable Energy Target (STCs) and GST – they represent the total out-of-pocket cost of the system to the customer. We’ve left fields blank where there were only a small number of price points available in our database (usually fewer than 3).

Prices for each system size are colour-coded. (Dark red for highest, dark green for lowest, yellow/orange for in between).

List of products used in premium offerings

Please note that the below list is in alphabetical order and does not denote panel-inverter pairings in installer offerings. Also note that a premium offer may differ from an installer’s primary offer in a number of ways – such as the inclusion of a higher-end inverter, higher-end solar panels, or both.

Products used in Premium offerings
Panels Inverters
Canadian Solar ABB
CSUN Eltek
ET Solar Fronius
JA Solar SMA
Jinko Solar Sofar Solar
LG Solar SolarEdge
Phono Solar SolaX
QCells Sungrow
REC
ReneSola
Seraphim
Sunpower
Suntech
Trina Solar
WINAICO

Microinverter solar system offerings for November 2017 [NEW]

Microinverter systems are generally better equipped to handle shading issues and multiple roof orientations than standard, central/string inverter systems. You can read more about microinverters (and whether they’re right for your home) in this article.

We also point out that microinverter systems sometimes compete with premium systems even where shading/roof orientations are not an issue, as microinverters are generally seen as high-end product.

Prices in the tables below include both the up-front incentive available for small-scale systems through the Renewable Energy Target (STCs) and GST – they represent the total out-of-pocket cost of the system to the customer. We’ve left fields blank where there were only a small number of price points available in our database (usually fewer than 3).

Prices for each system size are colour-coded. (Dark red for highest, dark green for lowest, yellow/orange for in between).

List of products used in microinverter offerings

Please note that the below list is in alphabetical order and does not denote panel-inverter pairings in installer offerings. We also note that Enphase’s microinverters comprise the vast majority of microinverter offerings (roughly 90%).

Also note that strictly speaking SolarEdge systems do not include microinverters, but rather power optimisers. However, they are often lumped in with microinverters because of the fact that they are similarly adept at mitigating the impact of shading and multiple roof orientations.

Products used in microinverter offerings
Panels Inverters
BLD APS
Canadian Solar Enphase
ET Solar SolarEdge
GCL
JA Solar
Jinko Solar
LG Solar
Opal Solar
QCells
REC
Seraphim
Suntech
Trina

 

Historic solar PV system prices (since August 2012)

The historic pricing in the tables below do not reflect prices for Darwin, NT. See ‘About this data’ footnote below for a more detailed description of where this data comes from and what it represents.

We have and will continue to included the 1.5kW solar system graph for the sake of posterity, even as we’ve removed them from the ‘All system sizes’ graph below and other tables in this article.

 

Historic Solar PV Price Index Trend (All primary system sizes, $/W)

The chart below provides an at-a-glance look at solar PV system pricing trends since August 2012. Data points are the average of average $/W for popular system sizes (Only 1.5kW-5kW from Aug 2012 to Nov 2013, then also including 10kW from Dec 2013, with 1.5kW dropped from November 2017.)

(N.b. Please see note about ‘Solar Choice Discount’ in January 2016 edition of the PV Price Index.)

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About this data

Tables and charts included in this article were compiled using data from Solar Choice’s installer network database, which contains regularly-updated pricing and product details from over 100 solar installation companies across Australia. Prices do not ordinarily incorporate meter installation fees or additional costs for difficult installations. Pricing data from Darwin is not included any of the charts showing historic trends.

© 2017 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

James Martin II

James Martin II

Communications Manager at Solar Choice
James has been Solar Choice's primary writer & researcher since 2010. He lives in Newcastle in a house with a weird solar system.
James Martin II

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

TJ Roberts November 10, 2017 at 9:06 am

The new AC Modules from LG and Jinko Solar using Enphase IQ microinverters offer a very attractive, safe and reliable solution to the customer.

I have been quasi-energy-independent since 2013, and with NEM, I am grandfathered in. I make money each year from my co-op member-owned utility. I wish more Americans had the same opportunity with their utility fiefdoms that I enjoy. For those considering solar, make sure you go with a microinverter solution and not an optimized-string. The microinverters offer a 100% reliable, decentralized power solution whereas the optimized-string does not. I know. I have 80 Enphase microinverters, and even if one fails, which it hasn’t, 99% of my solar solution will continue to work. That’s reliability. With an optimized string, a defective central string inverter will cause your entire solar PV solution to become disabled and who knows for how long. Optimized-string solutions are great for the service guys.

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