Solar Panels Canberra, ACT: Compare costs & installers

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Canberra, ACT is a great place to go solar in Australia, thanks primarily to the ever-improving economics of solar panel installations. This article takes a look at the some of the key considerations for going solar in Canberra, including system pricing, energy yields and incentives available to system owners. It also touches on battery storage.

How do you benefit from solar power in Canberra?

Solar rays pasiing through hand on Canberra rooftop

Getting an optimal solar power system anywhere in Australia – including Canberra – means first understanding how a system benefits a home or business. Solar panels only produce electricity during sunlight hours, and how much electricity is generated depends on the intensity and duration of the sunshine.

ACT residents can benefit from solar in two ways:

1) ‘solar self-consumption‘, where you use the solar energy directly (and avoid having to pay your retailer for electricity), and

2) solar feed-in credits, where you receive a credit on your bill for ‘excess’ solar energy that you send into the grid. The combination of these two benefits helps to make solar a great investment for the ACT.

Note that the feed-in tariff rate that you receive depends on who sells you electricity (your retailer) and the plan that you’re on with that retailer. You can compare feed-in tariffs and switch electricity plans using the government’s EnergyMadeEasy.gov.au comparator website, or our own electricity plan comparison tool.

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

 

How much energy will a solar system produce in Canberra?

Solar panel installation in canberra

The average Canberran rooftop receives an annual average of about 4.8 hours of sun per day based on data from the Bureau of Meteorology. This number fluctuates seasonally (higher in summer and lower in winter). Estimated daily generation figures for different size systems based on 4.8 sun hours are detailed below (minus a 25% efficiency loss). Note that ‘kilowatt-hours’ (kWh) is the same unit that you’ll see on your electricity bill; the average Australian home uses between 15-25kWh of energy per day.

Solar Panel Production in Canberra, ACT

System Size Number of Solar Panels Average output per day Annual Output
2kW solar system 5 to 7 7.2 kWh 2,628 kWh
3kW solar system 8 to 10 10.8 kWh 3,942 kWh
4kW solar system 11 to 13 14.4 kWh 5,256 kWh
5kW solar system 14 to 16 18 kWh 6,570 kWh
7kW solar system 19 to 22 25.2 kWh 9,198 kWh
10kW solar system 27 to 31 36 kWh 13,140 kWh

Assumptions:

  • Solar panels are free of shading and a orientated to the North at 30 degrees
  • The solar power system’s efficiency is 75% (conservative estimate)

 

How much do solar panels cost in Canberra?

Solar Choice regularly publishes articles with indicative pricing for PV systems in Australia’s capital cities (including Canberra) in our Solar Choice Price Index.

Based on the price index data from March 2022, we can see that in Canberra a typical 6kw solar system would cost $5,620 on average after deducting the STC rebate and including GST.

The table below shows how solar system price trends for Australia over the last decade. The prices are in dollar per watt ($/W) format and segmented by capital city (including Canberra).

Canberra Solar Panel Cost History - Solar Choice Price Index

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Choosing the right solar system size

Because solar is affordable these days, sizing up a system for your home is not an exact science.  The most popular residential system size in Australia has risen to 6.6kW system; the larger the system, the less you’ll pay per watt of capacity ($/W) for comparable equipment. This size system could work with a household consuming the typical 15-25kWh/day – increasing the system size up and down will slightly adjust the return on investment which we discuss below.

To simplify the shopping process, our online comparison portal provides a good way to get started. You can easily browse through difference system sizes and the costs, along with different qualities and types of solar equipment – click compare now on the right to get started. You can also check out our Simple Solar System Sizing Estimator to explore different scenarios.

 

Federal and state government incentives for solar in Canberra

Federal rebate for solar (STCs)

Significant up-front incentives are available from the federal government. Technically speaking, this discount comes in the form of ‘small-scale technology certificates’ (STCs), which utility companies and other liable entities are obligated to purchase under Australia’s national Renewable Energy Target. This discount is applied directly to the purchase price of your system – there is no need to claim it, as it is passed through to you by the company that sells you the system; all you have to do is compare prices.

As an example, the STC benefit associated with the scheme for a 5kW solar system in Canberra is approximately $2,287 based on pricing from Green-bank.

ACT Battery Rebate Program

The ACT’s battery rebate scheme (called Next Gen) was originally launched in 2016 and has subsidised the installation of over 600 batteries across the state. The scheme provides a rebate of $825 per kW of battery sustained peak output (SPO) up to a maximum of $24,750 for households and $41,250 for businesses.

Potential ACT Rebate for Popular Solar Batteries

Battery Usable Capacity Sustained Peak Output (SPO) Rebate
Tesla Powerwall 2 13.5 kWh 5 kW $4,125
LG RESU10 8.8 kWh 5 kW $4,125
Alpha-ESS SMILE T-10 Expandable 10 kW $8,250
BYD B-Box LVS Expandable 3.33 kW $2,747

This definitely helps the case for batteries and has been increasing in popularity in Canberra. The resulting financial return for a solar battery installation is explored further down this page.

 

Is solar power worth it in Canberra?

Residents of the ACT are fortunate enough to benefit from some of the lowest grid electricity prices in the whole of Australia, with the most competitive rates coming in at around 19c/kWh according to government site Energy Made Easy. While this means that a typical (pre-solar) household electricity bills in the ACT tend to be less than those in QLD or NSW, it also means that the return on investment for a solar system is slightly lower than other states.

The table below examines 3 popular system sizes (5kW, 6.6kW and 10kW) with varying energy usage profiles to estimate the return on investment for common scenarios. A big input to the calculation is the “self-consumption rate” which estimates how much of your generate solar power will be used in the household rather than being sold back to the grid. As the feed in tariff rates are low and reducing, it always presents a better payback period if you can use as much of the solar power as possible.

Note that we’ve used average solar system prices, but there are a full range of options available on Solar Choice’s comparison portal if you are ready to get quotes for solar.

Indicative Returns for solar systems in Canberra

– Last updated March 2022-

Solar Panel Size Average Cost Average Daily Energy Usage Self Consumption Rate Annual Savings Payback Period
5kW $4,910 15 kWh 40% $751 6.4 Years
6.6kW $5,620 20 kWh 40% $995 5.5 Years
10kW $8,730 40 kWh 40% $1,705 5.0 Years

Assumptions/Limitations of this analysis

  • Assumes energy price of 19c / kWh which is towards the cheaper end of what is possible in different areas of Canberra
  • Assumes a solar feed in tariff of 7c / kWh
  • Average costs come from the Solar Choice Price Index for March 2022
  • Your self-consumption rate will vary depending on how you use power in your home. At higher rate, means less power is exported to the grid and improves your financial return

You can play with the numbers for yourself using our Solar Payback Calculator

 

Solar battery LG Chem's RESU3.3 - Silver

What about solar battery storage in Canberra?

The ACT is one of the few local governments in Australia to offer an incentive for home battery storage under its NextGen program. NextGen helps to reduce the cost of installing batteries, provided you go with one of the program’s handful of pre-selected providers. This is a fantastic program that makes battery storage worth looking into for Canberrans and which we hope will be emulated by other state & territory governments going forward.

Solar Choice has been regularly assessing the financial return of batteries for many years in our ‘Are solar batteries worth it?‘ article. We looked at three different use cases and matching solar panel and battery solutions to arrive at the results below. You will notice that the return for batteries isn’t quite at the same level of solar panels (despite the rebate).

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 $946 7.9 years > 20 years
Retirees / Young families 6.6kW of Solar Panels and a 6.5 kWh battery $1,408 7.1 years 18.9 years
Big Energy User 13 kW of Solar Panels and a 13.5 kWh battery $2,450 8.1 years > 20 years

For a full explanation of our methodology and assumptions – see the full article.

Many customers in Canberra and the rest of Australia are installing solar panels first to lower power bills and keeping their options open to add a battery once prices come down (we expect they will over the next few years).

Increasingly Australians are making the decision to add a battery to their solar panel solution due to the non-financial benefits like having power during a blackout and running the house almost entirely off renewable energy.

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. Am in ACT and looking for someone to look at my solar system we believe the readings haven’t changed since the last bill and last quarter we didn’t get discount which indicate the system might be faulty or something . Thanks

    1. Hi Adam. Who installed your system? They’d be the best ones to reach out to as a first port of call.

  2. I have a PV panels on my roof – 48 of them. All is almost perfect EXCEPT for the leaking roof due to a shoddy installation. Roof leaks only during a heavy rain and if there is a moderate to strong wind. By the way, the roof was retailed about one year prior to installation of the PV panels, therefore, it did not leak before.
    DO you have any advice who can correct the installation here in the ACT?

    1. Hi Rikitan,

      Can you check back with the installer who put the system up? That would be the best place to start.

  3. Hi . I have 2kw solar system at the moment. Looking to put batteries in. But l have been told that the system needs to at lease 5 kw. The panels are 12off 175kw with 2.4 sma inverter . Would it be better to upgrade to 5kw inverter and add extra panels
    or just put another 2.5kw system on? I believe that the panels i have are not made anymore ( schott 175 ) so can you add larger panels together with the old system?
    Can you please direct me in the right direction.
    thanks steve

    1. Hi Steve,

      We recommend speaking with an accredited solar installer for more precise details, but here is our general guidance in response to your questions.

      -You could potentially have batteries with a 2kW solar system, but the battery bank would have to be quite small for your solar to be able to fill it up completely. There are lots of battery storage products out there, however, so make sure that you consider more than the product you’ve been recommended.

      Two resources of ours that you might want to make use of:

      -Our Battery Storage Sizing & Payback Estimator Tool will let you explore a variety of system sizes & configurations to help you give yourself a general idea of what you need. (Its limitations are explained on the calculator page.)

      -Check out our Battery Storage Product Performance Comparison Tool, which contains a wide range of products currently available on the market and their respective sizes.

      About upgrading & swapping the inverter: If your existing inverter is still under warranty, you might be better of having a new, separate system installed alongside the existing one. If it’s getting on in its years, however, you might want to consider upgrading it and adding new panels. The new, larger inverter will need to be able to take in two different strings of panels (ask how many maximum power point trackers the inverter has – your installer should know). Another option if your inverter is getting old is to replace it with a new, similar size inverter and have any new panels added to your home with microinverters, which are installed on the roof inside or next to the new panels. The advantage of doing so is that you wouldn’t need to worry about adding a second central inverter – plus you’d be able to add as many or as few new panels as necessary.

      If you’re looking for quotes on solar or battery storage systems, please fill out the Quote Comparison Request form to the right of this page. By doing so, you’ll be able to compare prices on a range of products & system sizes from installers in your area.

      Hope this helps you out!

Comments are closed.