Solar Choice Price Index – February 2013

Prior to the early closure of the Solar Credit Scheme on 1 January 2013, installers on the Solar Choice network began updating their prices to reflect the new cost of solar PV in Australia. In the past month, our Solar Brokers have worked with the installers on our network to ensure that our prices reflect the current market offering and, to identify whether there has been a uniform increase in the value of STC’s. Following on from the January PV Price Index, prices remain higher than previous months as a result in the decrease in available Federal Solar Rebates but despite this, the cost of solar PV continues to decrease.

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 main cities (excluding Darwin). In addition to the cost of solar PV the report also includes variations in the price of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs).

Cost of installed solar PV systems by city and system size

Updated figures for February show that the cost of solar PV continues to decline, possibly as a result of the increased value of STC’s, rather than a decrease in the cost of components. When looking at the data on a month by month basis, 2kW solar system prices can be identified as being the exception to an overall trend. Excluding the 2kW data from the overall analysis, we can see that as system size increases so does the difference in price between the January and February figures. The average price of a 1.5kW system has decreased by around $80, while a 5kW solar PV system has decreased by over $450, and is now averaging at less than $10,000.

SolarChoice: Average Solar PV System Prices – February 2013
1.5kW 2kW 3kW 4kW 5kW
Adealide, SA $3,565.89 $4,546.44 $6,316.78 $8,017.33 $9,593.44
Brisbane, QLD $4,005.13 $5,131.90 $6,796.13 $9,072.43 $10,521.19
Canberra, ACT $3,922.71 $4,814.39 $6,714.80 $8,651.06 $10,310.49
Hobart, TAZ $3,831.25 $4,957.75 $6,480.75 $8,916.25 $9,924.75
Melbourne, VIC $3,961.00 $4,766.56 $6,543.11 $8,620.89 $10,098.78
Sydney, NSW $3,109.86 $4,328.63 $5,983.38 $7,607.63 $9,009.50
Perth, WA $3,377.50 $4,418.33 $5,923.83 $8,086.33 $9,672.83
ALL $3,681.91 $4,709.14 $6,394.11 $8,424.56 $9,875.85

*Includes STC discount

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

Excluding the 2kW system data from the overall analysis, reveals a decrease in the installed cost per watt of between 6¢ and 9¢. This has brought the average cost of a 5kW system down to under $2 per watt. Sydney prices are the cheapest across the board, with 3kW, 4kW and 5kW systems coming in at under $2 per watt. Perth system prices are the closest to Sydney, with a 3kW system coming in slightly under Sydney at $1.97 per watt, this proximity in price may be as a result of the higher number of STC’s allocated to customers in the Perth area.

The most expensive systems can be found in Melbourne and Brisbane. While it is understandable that customers in Melbourne may pay slightly more as a result of receiving fewer STC’s, the high price in the Brisbane area cannot be explained by the removal of the Solar Credit Scheme alone.

SolarChoice: Average System Prices per watt – February 2013
  1.5kW 2kW 3kW 4kW 5kW
Adealide, SA $2.38 $2.27 $2.23 $2.00 $1.92
Brisbane, QLD $2.67 $2.57 $2.27 $2.27 $2.10
Canberra, ACT $2.62 $2.41 $2.24 $2.16 $2.06
Hobart, TAZ $2.55 $2.48 $2.16 $2.23 $1.98
Melbourne, VIC $2.64 $2.38 $2.18 $2.16 $2.02
Sydney, NSW $2.07 $2.16 $1.99 $1.90 $1.80
Perth, WA $2.25 $2.21 $1.97 $2.02 $1.93
ALL $2.45 $2.35 $2.15 $2.11 $1.98

*Includes STC discount

Solar PV system prices – highs and lows

There are a number of changes at the minimum and maximum price for a fully installed solar PV system, but no definite trend. The maximum price for a 1.5kW system has increased by around $1,000, a 2kW system has increased by around $450, but these changes may be as a result of an additional installer joining our Tasmanian network. The larger system sizes show decrease across the board, the most notable change has been at the maximum price for a 5kW system which has decreased by approximately $1,300.

Solar Choice: Solar System Prices Max and Min – February 2013
1.5kW 2kW 3kW 4kW 5kW
Min  $2,175  $3,499  $4,490  $6,490  $7,490
Max  $6,185  $6,885  $9,085  $11,299  $13,317

*Includes STC discount

Average STC Value

Since the early closure of the Solar Credit Scheme was announced in November 2012, the value of STC’s has been steadily increasing. February’s average STC values are no exception with an increase of over a dollar for systems between 1.5-3kW. The STC value of 4kW and 5kW solar PV systems has increased by 70¢ and 80¢ respectively.

The minimum and maximum STC’s prices that help to shape the average figures are the same across all system sizes. The remarkable $43 per STC that has been on offer from one installer has been removed and the new maximum price is $34. The minimum STC price is up $2 on previous months and it currently sitting around the $25 mark.

SolarChoice: Average STC discount – February 2013
1.5kW 2kW 3kW 4kW 5kW
Adelaide, SA $29.17 $29.17 $29.17 $24.67 $28.33
Brisbane, QLD $28.70 $28.92 $28.92 $29.63 $29.10
Canberra, ACT $29.63 $29.63 $29.63 $29.63 $29.63
Hobart, TAZ $28.50 $28.50 $28.50 $28.50 $28.50
Melbourne, VIC $29.42 $29.42 $29.42 $29.42 $28.58
Sydney, NSW $29.50 $29.60 $29.60 $29.60 $29.60
Perth, WA $28.25 $28.25 $28.25 $28.25 $28.25
ALL $29.02 $29.07 $29.07 $28.53 $28.86

*Includes STC discount

The importance of the STC value for those looking to purchase a solar PV system relates to the Renewable Energy Target (RET), set out by the Federal Government. As part of the RET, ‘liable entities’ are obliged to purchase and surrender a certain number of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) every year, with the total number of RECs required to meet the target increasing annually.

Australia is divided into a number of zones REC Zones and the STC’s are allocated on this basis, 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.

About Solar Choice

Solar Choice has helped over 55,000 Australian households make a well-informed choice of solar power installer. With over 100 of Australia’s top  installers on our network, we provide free and impartial Solar Quote Comparisons for customers across the country. Our Commercial Tender Management Team has worked on a wide range of commercial-scale solar PV projects throughout Australia, including solar farms and utility-scale solar PV plants.

© 2013 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

Comments

  1. looking at the list of variants in pricing, do you have a list of the businesses you got these individual prices from and what panels they are using?

    1. Hi Annette,

      In order to ensure our service remains free and impartial we do not release details of our installer network. If you are looking to undertake a solar PV project ad would like us to send to a FREE Solar Quote Comparison, just put your details in the green box to the right of the page. As we’re not an installer ourselves you won’t get a pushy sales pitch, and you can select not to hear from installers, we work along side you to help you make an informed choice of installer.

  2. Hi I’m a foreigner trying to understand Australian solar market.
    Is this a correct understanding if I say pure system price for 1.5kW in Sydney is $2.09 (instead of $2.07) assuming I didn’t have STC discount?

    And this is AUD dollar quote, right? Thank you.

    1. Hi Leanne,

      All our figures are in Australian dollars and are an average of the price data from various installers operating in selected cities across Australia. I wouldn’t like to make assumption of the ‘pure’ price of the system, that is the price excluding the STC discount, as there isn’t a standard STC price across all installers. We include the STC discount as it is available to all customer and affects the price customers actually pay for a system.

  3. Reading article see no comparison for NT or darwin. I am currently looking at installing 4.5 kw system at around $13000 with STC discounts already taken off price, would this be a reasonable price. Choice between Trinna panels, JA solar panel or Q cells, all seem pretty same output wise, using Sunnyboy or Goodwe inverters. Any views

    1. Hi David,

      We don’t currently include Darwin or the NT in our price comparison due to the unique set up there, you can still get information about the cost of installing solar by completing our Solar Quote Comparison located to the right of the page.

      We’ve not come across JA panels before but the other manufacturers you mentioned are good brands with good reputations – the ‘Q’ in Q-Cells actually stands for quality! The Sunnyboy inverter has a great reputation, but again we haven’t come across the other manufacturer before, we generally advise going with a European inverter manufacturer as they have been around for longer and have a better reputation.

      Hope that helps

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