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).
How much energy will solar panels produce in Brisbane?
Fitting 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 panel output in Brisbane (Residential Sizes)
|Solar system size (kilowatts)||Number of Solar Panels||Avg daily system output (kilowatt-hours)||Annual Output (kilowatt-hours)|
|2kW||5 to 7||7.8 kWh||2,847 kWh|
|3kW||8 to 10||11.7 kWh||4,271 kWh|
|4kW||11 to 13||15.6 kWh||5,694 kWh|
|5kW||14 to 16||19.5 kWh||7,117 kWh|
|7kW||19 to 22||27.3 kWh||9,965 kWh|
|10kW||27 to 31||39 kWh||14,235 kWh|
How to find the optimal solar system size for your home
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 size in Australia is 6.6kW 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 6.6kW is probably worth investigating as well.
As the rate you buy power for in Australia is always higher than the rate you can sell solar power for – the more of the solar energy you ‘self-consume‘ (i.e. use directly) the better your financial return will be. 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 use this electricity plan comparison tool to compare offers and switch to the best retailer.
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 typical residential solar panel systems in Brisbane.
In Brisbane you can receive the STC rebate for zone 3
The federal government rebate indirectly provides what are in effect up-front discounts on the cost of installing a solar PV system through the creation of small-scale technology certificates (STCs). As 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. You can find out how many certificates your system will generate with the Clean Energy Regulator’s calculator.
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 6.6kW solar system in Brisbane, it results in a reduction of $3025 based on the project generating 82 certificates at a current price of $36.9.
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How much do solar panels cost in Brisbane?
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 Choice Price Index. We average out the prices of all the of installers in our network to provide an accurate average cost. You can use our free comparison portal to browse through solar quote information from installers in your area.
Based on the data from March 2022 – the average cost of a typical 6.6kW solar panel system in Brisbane is $5,200 after the STC rebate has been deducted.
As you can see in the below diagram, solar prices in Brisbane and the rest of Australia have plummeted over the last decade.
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Are solar panels worth it in Brisbane?
The short answer is yes – solar panels can offer a typical Brisbane homeowner savings of up to $3,000 per year with a payback period of 3 to 5 years.
The below table illustrates some scenarios of typical Brisbane households where the larger solar panel sizes are matched to larger energy usage. Note that the calculations in the table rely heavily on the ‘self-consumption rate’ which estimates the proportion of solar power that will be used within the home rather than being sold back to the grid. A rate of 40% would suggest a reasonable amount of usage during the daytime.
Note that the pricing here is average costs only. You can browse through solar quotes in Brisbane on our free comparison tool if you want to see specific brands and a list possible extras that may occur for your installation.
Indicative Returns for solar systems in Brisbane
– Updated March 2022-
|Solar Panel Size||Average Cost||Average Daily Energy Usage||Self Consumption Rate||Annual Savings||Payback Period|
|5kW||$4,880||15 kWh||40%||$1,000||4.8 Years|
|6.6kW||$5,200||20 kWh||40%||$1,324||3.9 Years|
|10kW||$8,490||30 kWh||40%||$1,999||4.2 Years|
|15kW||$12,735||45 kWh||40%||$2,999||4.2 Years|
- Assumes energy price of 22c / kWh which is towards the middle of what is offered in Brisbane
- Assumes a solar feed in tariff of 10c / kWh
- Average costs come from the Solar Choice Price Index for March 2022 and include the STC rebate and GST
- Your self-consumption rate will vary depending on how you use power in your home
How does solar battery storage stack up in Brisbane?
The return on investment for solar batteries is currently lower than the return for solar panels. This is mainly due to the fact that the cost of solar batteries is comparatively much higher and there in no rebate available for battery storage in Queensland or federally across Australia.
Solar Choice has been analysing and tracking the economics of household solar battery storage for over 5 years in our ‘Are solar batteries worth it?‘ article. We look at three common use cases, along with typical inputs for energy prices, feed in tariffs and battery installation costs to assess the financial return as described in the table below:
|User Case||Solar and Battery Solution||Total Year 1 Savings||Payback Period Solar & Battery||Payback Period Battery Only|
|Young Adults / Older Family||5kW of Solar Panels and a 3.5 kWh battery||$774||12.8 years||> 20 years|
|Retirees / Young families||6.6kW of Solar Panels and a 6.5 kWh battery||$1,465||9.1 years||18.9 years|
|Big Energy User||13 kW of Solar Panels and a 13.5 kWh battery||$2,548||9.7 years||> 20 years|
You can review all the methodologies and assumptions in the full article.
Despite the long payback period we are still seeing many homeowners installing battery systems. There are non-financial reasons that are becoming increasing important including keeping the lights on during a blackout and reducing carbon footprints.
Many others are installing ‘battery ready’ systems which include a hybrid solar inverter allowing them to choose from a greater selection of batteries once they become more affordable – or if a government rebates scheme comes in to play.
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
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