Solar Choice Price Index – December 2012

December’s Solar Choice Price Index will be the last to include the 2x multiplier after the Australian Federal Government announced mid-November that the Solar Credit scheme will end 6 months early on 1 January 2013. The data contained in this report is generated from Solar Choice’s Australia wide network of installers, and provides a monthly up-date on the price of solar PV in and around Australia’s capital cities (excluding Darwin) and including variations in the price of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) All figures include the STC discounts.

Cost of installed solar PV systems by city and system size

The average price of solar PV systems has decreased significantly across Australia, and are now less than half than they were 18 months ago. The beginning of December saw a further drop in the average price of a system by around $100 for 3-5kW systems and around $150 for 1.5kW and 2kW systems. This reduction in the average price across the country is the result of a decrease in price in certain locations and system sizes with no general reduction in price in one location across the board.

Solar Choice: Average Solar PV System Prices – December 2012 
1.5kW 2kw 3kW 4kW 5kW
Adeliade, SA  $3,366.60  $4,320.90  $6,092.00  $8,208.04  $9,946.56
Brisbane, QLD  $3,785.35  $4,775.58  $6,960.49  $9,288.16  $11,033.13
Canberra, ACT  $3,150.67  $4,159.28  $6,008.10  $8,052.07  $9,746.40
Hobart, TAZ  $3,539.33  $4,604.67  $6,311.67  $8,590.33  $10,378.67
Melbourne, VIC  $3,528.78  $4,477.89  $6,207.22  $8,525.78  $10,138.67
Sydney, NSW  $2,715.67  $3,872.33  $5,672.67  $7,520.17  $9,003.83
Perth, WA  $3,124.33  $4,003.67  $5,908.33  $8,041.50  $9,838.17
ALL $3,315.82  $4,316.33  $6,165.78  $8,318.01  $10,012.20

The price of a 1.5kW system in Sydney is lower than last month but a 2kW is slightly more expensive and the reverse is true in Brisbane. The cost of installing a solar PV system in Melbourne is now lower than in Brisbane, where once it was significantly more expensive, despite the additional costs as a result of installers working in Tasmania (Hobart is listed separately but is still partially serviced by Victoria based installers affecting the price for this state).

Solar PV System prices by city and system size – cost per watt

The decrease in the final cost of installed solar PV system prices is also reflected in the cost per watt, with a decrease across all system sizes by between 1-9¢ per kW. The cost per watt fluctuates across system size and location with no clear pattern. In Sydney, for example, cost is generally up on November other than 1.5kW and 5 kW systems which are 11¢ and 5¢ cheaper per kW respectively.

Solar Choice: Average Solar PV System Prices per watt – December 2012
1.5kW 2kw 3kW 4kW 5kW
Adeliade, SA  $2.24  $2.16  $2.03  $2.05  $1.99
Brisbane, QLD  $2.52  $2.39  $2.32  $2.32  $2.21
Canberra, ACT  $2.10  $2.08  $2.00  $2.01  $1.95
Hobart, TAZ  $2.36  $2.30  $2.10  $2.15  $2.08
Melbourne, VIC  $2.37  $2.24  $2.07  $2.13  $2.03
Sydney, NSW  $1.81  $1.94  $1.89  $1.88  $1.80
Perth, WA  $2.08  $2.00  $1.97  $2.01  $1.97
ALL  $2.21  $2.16  $2.06  $2.08  $2.00

As the early closure of the Solar Credit scheme was announced mid-month it is possible that this unusual lack of pattern is in response to the announcement, some installers on the Solar Choice network have announced that they will honour the price of the system including the 2x multiplier even if they are not installed by the 31 December closing date.

System price highs and lows

The maximum and minimum system costs are almost identical to November, with the exception of the minimum price of a 5kW system which has dropped by another $150.

Solar Choice: Solar System Prices Max and Min – December 2012
1.5kW 2kW 3kW 4kW 5kW
Min  $1,999.00  $3,095.00  $4,799.00  $6,199.00  $8,039.00
Max  $5,145.00  $6,146.00  $9,133.00  $11,768.00  $14,694.00

Average STC discount

One positive impact of last month’s Federal Government announcement is an increase on the average STC price. At the beginning of November, and for several months prior to this, the average price was around $26 per STC. At the beginning of December STC prices rose to over $27 with the average in Sydney now sitting at $28.40.

Solar Choice: Average STC Discount – December 2012
1.5kW 2kw 3kW 4kW 5kW
Adeliade, SA  $27.50  $27.50  $27.38  $27.38  $29.25
Brisbane, QLD  $27.00  $27.00  $27.21  $27.21  $27.21
Canberra, ACT  $28.25  $28.25  $28.25  $28.25  $28.25
Hobart, TAZ  $26.67  $26.67  $26.67  $26.67  $26.67
Melbourne, VIC  $27.21  $28.14  $28.14  $28.14  $27.43
Sydney, NSW  $28.40  $28.40  $28.40  $28.40  $28.40
Perth, WA  $27.67  $27.67  $27.67  $27.67  $27.67
ALL  $27.53  $27.66  $27.67  $27.67  $27.84

As the STC value varies according to supply and demand fewer STC’s on the market will drive up their value. Up until the end of the year the first 1.5kW of every system installed across Australia will receive double STC’s, the number allocated is affected by location – the more sunshine you get the more STC’s are allocated. Australia is divided into a number of RET Zones, regions that receive a great number of sunshine hours (such as Far North Queensland) are allocated a greater number of STCs, whilst those in less sun-blessed areas (such as Victoria and Tasmania) receive fewer.

Solar Choice: STC value Max and Min – December 2012
1.5kW 2kW 3kW 4kW 5kW
Min  $23.00  $23.00  $23.00  $23.00  $23.00
Max  $30.00  $34.00  $34.00  $34.00  $43.00

The maximum and minimum values for STC’s by system size reflect the change in price by location, a 5kW system can now command as much as $43 per STC but can receive as little as $23, equally a 1.5kW system may get as much as $30 per STC. Customers who are are fulling installed can potentially take advantage of higher STC prices and the 2x multiplier.

About Solar Choice

Solar Choice works with over 100 solar PV installers in providing free and impartial Solar Quote Comparisons for customers throughout Australia. Solar Choice Commercial manages tenders for a wide range of commercial-scale solar PV projects throughout Australia, including solar farms and utility-scale solar PV plants.

© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

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