Solar power in Brisbane: Compare installers & prices

Well over 30% of the homes in the Brisbane area have solar panels on their roofs – one of the highest rates of any of Australia’s capital cities. Why have Brisbane residents taken such a shine to solar power? This article take a look and the benefits of going solar for households in Brisbane (and also touches on battery storage).

Why is Brisbane a good place for solar power?

Exhibit A: Ample sunshine

The Sun from NASA's Solar Dynamics ObservatoryFitting for the capital of the sunshine state, Brisbane receives lots of sunshine year-round. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Brisbane gets about 5.2 hours of ‘peak sun’ per square meter on average per day. How much usable solar energy does 5.2 peak sun hours translate into? The answer depends on a few things, including the size (or kilowatt capacity) of your solar system.

The table below provides an overview of how much energy you can expect some common residential solar system sizes to generate, assuming that they are north-facing and about 75% efficient.

Solar PV system output in Brisbane (Popular system sizes)
Solar system size (kilowatts)Avg daily system output (kilowatt-hours)
1.5kW5.9kWh
2kW7.8kWh
3kW11.7kWh
4kW15.6kWh
5kW19.5kWh
7kW27.3kWh
10kW39kWh

 

Great! But what does this mean?

When you look at your electricity bill, you should be able to see your energy usage listed in kilowatt-hours (kWh) – the standard units used in electricity billing. Your kWh consumption will vary by season and month. You should be able to figure out roughly how many kWh you use per day on average by looking at your old electricity bills. As a rule of thumb, the average Australian home uses between 15 and 25kWh of energy per day.

Knowing this number will help you choose the right solar system size, but because solar is so affordable these days, sizing your system is not an exact science. In fact, the most common solar system sizes around the country are 3kW, 4kW and 5kW – with 5kW being the most popular these days thanks to the great value for money that they offer (i.e. a lower price per kilowatt). If you use significantly more than 25kWh of energy per day, a solar system larger than 5kW is probably worth investigating.

Remember that the more of the solar energy you ‘self-consume‘ (i.e. use directly) by shifting energy usage into the daylight hours, the more you will save on your bill. The rate you are paid for your excess solar energy is generally referred to as a ‘feed-in tariff’. At present in Queensland, the rate you are paid depends on your electricity retailer and the plan you are on – you can visit EnergyMadeEasy.gov.au or WattEver.com.au to compare offers from different retailers.

We encourage you to play with the numbers yourself using our Solar System Payback & ROI Estimator tool.  You can also read on to the bottom of this article to see a quick comparison of returns on 3kW & 5kW solar systems.

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

Check out our Home Solar & Battery Guide

Exhibit B: Strong up-front incentives through the federal Renewable Energy Target

The federal government indirectly provides what are in effect up-front discounts on the cost of installing a solar PV system through Australia’s Renewable Energy Target. Because this incentive is applied directly to the price of your system by the installer, you do not need to claim it yourself; all you need to do is compare out-of-pocket solar system prices.

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 30-40% of the total installation cost. This incentive has been key 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 Brisbane, it results in a reduction of $2,670 – $3,380.

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

Exhibit C: Competitive solar PV system prices

As mentioned above, Australian solar system installation prices are among the lowest in the world – we know because we’ve been keeping track for a few years now with our monthly Solar PV Price Index articles. However, to get the freshest possible look at the market, we recommend that you request a Solar Quote Comparison.

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

 

What about battery storage?

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. Battery storage price comparisons are now available with all of Solar Choice’s Solar Quote Comparisons.

Recent analysis by Solar Choice puts Brisbane as the #4 best city for batteries in Australia. You can read the article by clicking here or by clicking on the table below.

(Read more about battery storage in Brisbane.)

Exhibit D: Solar PV systems in Brisbane are still a good investment

As the table below illustrates, payback times for solar systems in Brisbane can be quite short and savings quite large. Keep in mind that the results in the table are based on average Brisbane prices – lower system prices will yield even better results. Furthermore, we use generally conservative figures for the example below – including an efficiency rate of 75%.

We just urge that you make sure that the system you’re purchasing uses quality components and is installed by a reputable installer. Lower prices don’t always indicate lower quality, but they should be approached with a healthy degree of caution – remember that a solar system should last up to 25 years (with inverter replacements every 7-13 years). Any system downtime will reduce savings and extend the payback period – not to mention costs incurred for any repairs not covered by the system’s warranty.

Indicative returns for solar systems @ average Brisbane prices

Last updated March 2019-

3kW 5kW
$4,100$5,190
@ 30% self-consumption@ 50% self-consumption@ 20% self-consumption40% self-consumption
~6.5 year payback~5.2 year payback~5.4 year payback~4.5 year payback
~14% IRR~18% IRR~17% IRR~21% IRR
~$650 annual savings~$803 annual savings~$1,090 annual savings~$1,282 annual savings

*(Assuming 75% system efficiency, 25kWh electricity consumption/day, retail electricity @ 21c/kWh, solar feed-in rate @ 11c/kWh)

 

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. HI Solar Choice,

    Can you update your Indicative Return table for Solar Systems in Brisbane to latest costs/ROI as its likely to have changed since April 2016?

    Thanks.

  2. Hi, Sorry to but in on a personal request! I am trying to contact Jeremy Moore(Dr) I used to work with him the Uk (Norwich) and he was a friend of mine who I have lost touch with, Could I ask anyone who has contact with him to please pass on my email address and ask him to ping me an email. Thanks Guys Ian (Norbut) sadler.

  3. Hi my wife and I are considering solar. A rundown on price for standard house and what to expect would be great. I have read they no longer offer anything for solar transferred back into the grid is this true? Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Erika,

      No thoughts on these panels as of yet, but some other readers may have opinions on them – which they’re welcome to share in comments here.

  4. Hello,

    we are look for a quote for the following please.

    110 x 80W Mono crystalline solar Panels
    20 X 45A Solar Regulators
    40 x 265 AH Deep cycle batteries
    20 x 1500W 12-24VDC – 240VAC solar inverters

    We are after good quality at a good price please.

    1. Hi Shawn,

      The best way to get quotes from us is to fill out the Solar Quote Comparison request form to the right of this page. By doing so, you’ll be able to see a range of quotes from installers in your area, and elect which one’s you’d like to be in touch with.

  5. For an accredited Grid Connect & Design/Install/Commissioning person/company (or the system owner?) to qualify/get partially reimbursed, via the STC scheme, is it necessary for the panels to be approved here in Australia/or be on a more International approved list?
    I am dissatisfied that Australians/Queenslanders and more particularly those of us in the North are deprived of panels like those available to Sunpower customers in the USA and Europe! (>21% “X21-345”)
    (EG. If I qualify, in Townsville, can I import panels that are not available on the Australian market and get STC credits? I am a former Ford Motor Company Solar Car Engineer, in Solar since 1987!)

  6. I wish to add additional panels-in Brisbane…..
    Where can i locate a history of solar radiation occurring at 12pm each day of the year in Brisbane……
    Having this information ,how can I convert that information into kw produced by 10 panels of 240w each
    This information will help me determine how many panels i can add but still have my inverter operate most of the time within its maximum capability…..
    With additional panels I will exceed the peak inverter capacity but hopefully not so often that the upgrade is inefficient
    Changing my inverter would cause me to loose my 52 cents/kw rebate that I am on
    I wish to extend the bell curve shoulders of production without significantly increasing the peak based on my current knowledge of my system at midday.

  7. Can panels b moved from one side of house to another part of roof , if so at what cost & will there b any damage to tiles

    1. Hi Wayne,

      What you’ve described is certainly possible (and can most likely be done without damaging the tiles)- but you’d probably want to get a certified installer to do the job for you. One organisation we know of that specialises in dealing with post-installation work is SolarSafe. You can read about what they offer in this article, but you’d have to ask them directly about their rates.

  8. Hello,
    I am wondering if it is possible give me a review about different Solar manufactures? Like Trina, Winacio, Canadian Solar, SMA, Aurora, etc. Mainly the big named brands. Also if you would have any rest results, what type of cells they use, what materials it’s made out of, and where they are manufactured.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Crest. There are different ways to assess solar panel & inverter quality, and different organisations have different ways of doing so. We know all of the companies that you mention to be reputable. We’ll see what we can do about putting together a more comprehensive analysis.

Comments are closed.