Solar power in Perth, WA: Compare prices & installers

Perth, WA is one of the best places in the country to install a solar power system. Like most of Australia, in Perth retail electricity rates are rising, and solar installation prices have fallen significantly over the past few years, thanks in part to the financial incentives available through the federal government. This article covers 5 reasons why solar (and batteries) are worth investigating as an option for homes & businesses in the Perth region.

This article is mostly about solar for homes. If you’re interested in solar power for your Perth–based business, see our article on Commercial Solar Power in Perth.

5 reasons Perth is a good place for solar panels (and batteries)

1. Perth gets lots of sunshine

Solar PowerWhen you own a solar system in Perth, more sunshine means more savings, so it’s useful to know what to expect. According to PVWatts, Perth receives an annual average of around 5.8 hours of ‘peak sunshine’ per square meter per day – making it one of Australia’s top solar cities. (Australia’s own Bureau of Meteorology, meanwhile, puts the number at slightly less – 5.3.)

These 5.3-5.8 hours of sunshine are the ‘fuel’ for a solar system. The larger the system, the more of this fuel it can capture and turn into usable energy. The table below shows typical energy output for solar PV systems of various sizes in Perth (assuming the system is 75% efficient, which is on the low side, to be conservative/safe).

Solar Panels Perth output 
Solar system size (kilowatts)
Avg daily system output (kilowatt-hours)
1.5kW6-7 kWh
2kW8-9 kWh
3kW12-13 kWh
4kW16-17.5 kWh
5kW20-22 kWh
7kW28-30.5 kWh
10kW40-44 kWh

What size solar system do you need? Check out our handy sizing tool.


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

 


2. Solar panels help Perth homes save money on their power bills

Solar Panels PerthThere are two ways that solar power can help households to save energy on their electricity bills:

  • Solar self-consumption: Using the solar energy directly, as it is generated, to reduce the amount of energy you purchase from the grid (which, in the case of Perth & surrounds, is run by Synergy). This is the main way in which solar power can save you money in Perth.
  • Solar feed-in tariffs: The rate that you are paid for any ‘excess’ solar energy that you send into the grid. The going rate in Perth is 8c/kWh, so you’ll see an 8c credit on your bill for each unit that you ‘export’.

There is a big difference between the feed-in rate (8c/kWh) and the price you pay for electricity from the grid (27c/kWh), which means that your solar energy is worth much more to you if you use it yourself than if you sell it back to the grid. This differential – coupled with the low price of solar power in Perth – also means that Perth is one of the best cities to install battery storage in the country (see our analysis from January 2018 and read on to the bottom of this article for more info).

In a nutshell: Having a solar system on your roof is basically like owning your own power station: The energy from the solar panels can be used to run the appliances in your home, thereby allowing you to bypass your electricity retailer for a portion of your electricity needs. Of course, you don’t use all of your electricity during daylight hours (when your panels produce power), so you’ll still have to ‘import’ energy from the grid after the sun’s gone down or when you’re using more energy than your solar panels produce.

How much energy does my home use?

Household demand varies by the size of family and the appliances used and how frequently, but as a ‘base case’, the average 3-person home uses about 20-25kWh of energy per day, averaged over the course of a year. The amount of solar energy that you ‘self-consume’ will depend on your home’s electricity consumption pattern; we recommend that you endeavour to use at least 30% of the solar energy that is produced.

(For educational organisations & not-for-profit customers: Synergy offers generous feed-in tariff rates for not-for-profit, schools, and community organisations. This makes going solar a great investment. Read more: Solar Buybacks for not-for-profits, schools, and community organisations in and around Perth, WA.)

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3. Government incentives mean low solar system prices in Perth

Solar Rebate

Under the federal government’s Renewable Energy Target scheme, households and businesses installing systems up to 100kW are eligible to receive what is in effect an up front ‘discount’ off the cost of installing a system. The exact amount of this discount depends on a number of factors (including the system location, system size and certificate price), but the beauty of the program is that you don’t have to claim the incentive for yourself – it is passed through to you by the company that sells you your system, so all you have to do is compare prices

In Perth, this discount can cover over 30% of the up-front cost of a system – or about $2,670-$3,380 for a 5kW solar system. This incentive is one of the reasons that Perth’s average solar system prices are among the lowest of all Australia’s capital cities (at least according to our numbers).

The table below shows how solar system installation prices in Australia have changed between August 2012 and early 2019. Perth, represented by the green dotted line, has long been home to some of the lowest prices in the country.

Solar Price History Perth

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4. Rooftop solar offers great returns (and short payback periods) for Perth homes & businesses

Money stock imageRooftop solar has become a no-brainer for homes and businesses across Australia – but according to our analysis, Perth is clearly one of the best cities for going solar. This is due to the combination of high grid electricity prices, low solar system prices and ample sunshine.

As discussed above, the key to saving money with solar in Perth is ‘self-consumption‘ – using the solar energy directly within your home/business. By self-consuming the solar energy, you avoid having to pay exorbitant grid electricity prices. The more of the solar energy you can use yourself, the lower your energy bill will be. This might be easy to achieve if you’re home during the daylight hours, but it might also make sense to invest in a home energy management system to automate the process for you.

The table below shows payback periods for 3kW and 5kW solar systems at average Perth prices at different self-consumption levels (estimated ‘low’ and ‘high’ for each system size). As you can see, it’s easy to achieve a payback period under 5 years – and a solar system will continue to operate for over 25 years.

Please also note that we’ve used average pricing figures to be conservative in the examples below – even better outcomes may be achievable by finding a better deal and further increasing your solar self-consumption rate. 

Indicative paybacks for solar systems @ average Perth prices

-Last updated March 2019-

3kW 5kW
$3,110$3,780
30% solar used  70% exported60% solar used    40% exported20% solar used    80% exported40% solar used  60% exported
4.7 year payback3.1 year payback4 year payback3 year payback
21% IRR31% IRR24% IRR34% IRR
$747 annual savings$1,080 annual savings$1,215 annual savings$1,687 annual savings

*(Assuming 25kWh electricity consumption/day, retail electricity @ 27c/kWh, solar feed-in rate @ 8c/kWh)

Calculate indicative solar power system ROI & payback periods for Perth, WA

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5. Perth is one of the best cities in Australia for battery storage

Solar Battery Perth

Battery storage is a hot topic in Australia, and Perth seems to be well ahead of the curve compared to other capital cities in terms of the financial viability of solar batteries, second behind only Adelaide – where grid electricity prices are even higher.

According to our own recent analysis, the average payback period for a solar+battery system in Perth is just over 7 years. Payback periods are only going to get shorter as battery prices come down, and there’s little to think that Perth won’t remain a prime market for battery storage in the years to come. (You can read more about battery storage in Perth here.)

Check out our Solar & Battery Sizing & Payback Estimator

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Solar Choice can help you compare solar quotes in Perth

Solar Choice, as Australia’s free Solar Energy Brokering and advice service, connects solar PV customers with installers who service their area. We provide comprehensive quote comparisons of solar power installations throughout the country – including in Perth. By requesting a Quote Comparison through our system by filling out the form on this page, you’ll instantly receive an apples-to-apples comparison of solar quotes (including pricing, product & warranty info) from a range of companies who operate in the Perth area.

Ready to compare solar & battery quotes?

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. As I won’t be living in my house in about 2-3 years it makes no sense for me to install solar panels.
    We have a very large roof so I’m happy to have them installed for free, and take none of the feed-in tariff, to help the planet.
    But I will not be paying to have them installed.

  2. Hi, I have a faulty solar inverter with the error message “Relay Failure”. My previous installer was sold to Zeversolar and I can’t find the receipts at moment. I purchased the system in 2011, what should I do if it’s not longer covered under warranty? Should I get it repaired or replace it? Also, can I still claim solar rebate if I buy another inverter? Thanks. :)

    1. Hi Maria,

      What’s the inverter brand? The manufacturer would be a better go-to point of contact than the installer if they’re no longer around.
      If your inverter is no longer under warranty, you’ll be looking at paying for a replacement.

  3. Hi

    We’re in the process of building a new house and are in the final stages of council building approvals. We’ve approached two reputable Perth companies for quotes, but haven’t heard back. Our guess is that it may have something to do with the approx 12 month lead time. Are there any solar companies happy to work at the pre-building stage?

    Thanks

    Linus

    1. Hi Linus,

      It’s hard for installer so size up a system without knowing your energy consumption patterns, but the good ones will certainly at least let you plant a seed with them. I’d suggest getting an idea about pricing now, but hold off on making your final decision until the roof is on the house and the electricals are in place.

      Have you requested quotes through our system?

  4. we got quote for 4.4kw system. Everything designed and made in the Germany. Price came down to $8000 on payment plan and $6784 for all cash. I would like to know if this is reasonable price or too much for the system?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Jag,

      That’s not a bad deal, but there certainly are lower cost systems out there (we keep track of average solar system prices in Aus – including Perth – here). Just make sure that the panels are actually made in Germany (not just designed there), as there aren’t a lot of panel manufacturers left there. What was the brand?

      1. Thanks Heaps.

        Solar Panels- Solarworld Panels

        Inverter- Fronius Inverter (Austrian made)

        Mounting system – Schletter mounting system

        Hikra – Cabling

        Thanks

        1. Hi Jag,

          That’s a decent quality system by all accounts – and at a fair price, although higher than the average we’ve got for Perth. You can play with our Solar System Payback Estimator Tool to get an idea of payback periods for a system of that size & price. The ouputs I got when I plugged in the numbers looked pretty good (3-5 years payback).

          If you haven’t already, it might be worth looking at some other quotes (always worth getting multiple quotes). To get quotes through our system simply fill out the form to the right of this page.

          Good luck going solar!

  5. Hi, we just had a sales person discuss solar panels with us and how to get affordable solar power by paying off the solar system over a 50 month interest free option. The name of the company was solar naturally. The whole arrangement is very attractive as they have a repair or replace warranty on all the system including the inverters and the panels for 5 years. Plus the panels are guaranteed for 25 years. My concern is that they use panels made in china. I have been advised that the best solar panels are japanese or german made. Can you please advise if this is the case? Thanks

    1. Hi Dayna,
      Thank you for your comment. In regards to panels about 80% of the market is manufactured in China. It is more important to know where the panel was originally designed and where their head offices are located. As long as the manufacturer has and head office in Australia, your warranty would be held here.

  6. I would like to find out information about solar panels for apartment blocks – we have a flat roof that apparently needs repair and have been advised that panels would be blown off the other alternative – using the roof of the car parking bays? Do you know who could provide advice. The building is 9 storeys high so wondering if using north facing wall is an option.

    Surely it would save money for our block to go solar?
    Thanks

  7. Hi there,
    We have a 1.1kw system with 6 panels facing north anout 1 hour south of Perth. Over a 64 day period we generated 6kwh from the solar and used 3206. Does this seem right? We believe we arent using this much power but are unsure on how to test it?

    Thanks Jayden

    1. Hi Jayden,

      Thank you for your comment.

      If you are using energy during the daylight hours, it will be from your solar system. This would mean very little will be going back to the grid. If you feel The system is not working correctly you can contact a solar accredited electrician to come check the system.

  8. Can I hook up some HWS panels to my existing solar panels? The HWS has been replaced but the panels are still up there!

    1. Hi Beck,

      Solar hot water / solar thermal panels work differently from solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, so it wouldn’t be possible to use them both in the same system (although they can work alongside one another, for sure). What was your reasoning for having them disconnected but leaving them up on your roof?

  9. Microinverters versus say a Frontius regular inverter – how reliable with heat problems? Perth Temperatures get very high in summer. I understand the advantages but . . .

    1. Hi Ann,

      I’ve reached out to both Fronius and Enphase (the world’s biggest microinverter manufacturer) to get a response to your question. Below are the comments they sent to me:

      From Fronius:

      All decent inverters have temperature sensors, which are designed to protect the inverter from heat related failures. They also have been tested to hot Australian conditions (like Fronius inverters have).

      The main problem for microinverters is that they are mounted on the roof with only the shade of a solar panel to protect them. Australian tin rooftops can easily get to 60 – 70 degC on a hot summer’s day. If you check out the datasheets of most microinverters, they will start derating their power output at 65 degC and will totally shutdown at about 85 degC. Fronius string inverters, for example, are mounted in much cooler locations out of direct sunlight (say on the south wall of your house) in an ambient temperature environment so they have a much easier life. When power electronics are involved, it’s best to keep out of the heat!

      Also, as we always mention, reliability is not just about the product not failing but how you get the system back up and running. See white paper attached from our colleagues in the US.

      Micro inverters even if reasonably reliable under heat conditions have a problem when it comes to service and maintenance vs Fronius inverters due to their scaling limitations.

      (You can download the Fronius Whitepaper here.)

      Enphase referred me to a paper from their ‘Mythbuster’ series (which you can download here). Below is an excerpt from this paper. If you’d like more details, please see the document itself.

      During the summer of 2014, extreme heat took a heavy toll on Australia, sparking bushfires and melting tar in the roadways. For three scorching weeks, Enphase closely monitored over 2,000 microinverters. None of them shut down because of the heat.

      Enphase Microinverters cope with these conditions for two reasons. Our engineers have designed them to maintain a low thermal footprint, and our installers have kept them away from direct sunlight and heat from the roof.

      When Australia needed renewable energy the most, Enphase Microinverters delivered.

  10. Hi

    I am enjoying reading your website and only wish I had made some better decisions based on your information.
    I built a new home in the south west of Wa in 2012/13, during construction I invited 2 solar pv companies to price a 5kw system for our new home. Both were negative and we did not proceed believing it was a hopeless case. The house is 2 storey, skillion roof with10 degree pitch which faces due west.
    After attending a sustainability seminar last week in Perth I get totally different advice that I will lose approx 15% efficiency only!! And it’s still well worth doing. We just want to decrease our synergy bill more than anything, we have roof and wall insulation, solar heat pum hot water service, ceiling fans, full led lighting and excellent cross ventilation design with louvred. I find that heating is more the issue than cooling as we do not have access to mains gas we have reverse cycle aircon.
    Is a battery system worth investing in ( more due to cost and lifecycle of batteries)
    Thanks for your time
    Confused

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for your comments. We’ve definitely noted before that west-facing roofs are a good options for homes that don’t have an unobstructed northerly aspect.

      As far as energy storage is concerned: systems are steadily becoming more affordable and more and more homes are seriously considering them, but we are currently advising folks to wait until they find a deal that makes financial sense. A solar PV system without energy storage, if sized appropriately (i.e. to meet the household’s electricity needs) should have a payback period of under 7 years in most parts of Australia–4 or 5 is not unheard of. We’d only recommend going with energy storage if you can find a system that is comparable to that.

  11. I am researching the installation of solar for my Perth WA home and in this regard I want to make sure that I engage a reputable retailer. Whilst price is important the lowest price quite often does not represent value for money (the non reputable retailers being the culprits). How do I know that your comparator only delivers results of reputable value for money retailers.
    Further I note in your advice that the average three person home uses 20kwh per day, is this a 24 hr day or consumption during daylight hours. If it is the former then the figure to me is meaningless noting that solar panels do not produce at night. I would be more interested in the avg consumption figure for daylight hours only. My intention is to have a system that produces enough on average over the course of a year that will offset the kwh I use during the day. In short not looking to make money rather just want to reduce my chargeable consumption.
    I have another query. Been reading your Perth WA comments and I note that you state that Perth gets an average of 4 hours of sunshine a day. I assume that you use this figure to determine a system size. I think your figure of 4 hours is incorrect. The Bureau of Meteorology website stats advise that the 94 year average for Perth is 7.9 hours. What impact does this fact have with regard to system requirements.

    1. Hi Peter,

      Thanks for commenting. You bring up some good points.

      As for installers in the Solar Choice network: there is a high level amount of due diligence that takes place before bringing any installer on board. In addition to ensuring that all of our installers are accredited through the Clean Energy Council, we also conduct review of the website, product on offer, past installs (quality and volume) and length of time in business are all taken into consideration initially. Pricing, locality and customer reviews/perception are then all looked at before we take an installer on. Each installer’s information is also instantly displayed for our customers as soon as the “Submit” button is pressed on our Solar Quote Comparison request form and we would encourage all of our customers to complete their own research to help make a decision.

      About the 20kWh/day household usage figure, you are correct that this is for 24 hours, and only a portion of electricity consumption for a given home takes place when the sun is shining. Actual daytime household consumption will differ depending on the home in question. Our Solar PV Payback Calculator takes this fact into account–you can set your household’s ‘self-consumption’ as a percentage. We encourage all of our customers to make sure they understand what they can expect from a system before they put their signature on a contract–and this means looking at daytime electricity consumption and usage patterns (we’ve written about this topic here.)

      Finally, about the 4 hours of sunshine–I’ve actually just updated the article (based on your feedback) to be a bit more accurate. In Perth you can expect 5.2 ‘peak sun hours’ per day, averaged throughout the year. Peak sun hours (PSH) are different from sunshine hours as listed by the BOM–they’re a technical measure used in the solar industry when talking about solar power to indicate hours of ‘peak’ sun. While Perth may indeed get 7.9 hours of sunshine throughout the day on average, the power of this sunshine is not equal throughout the day when looking at it from the vantage point of a fixed solar panel array.

      If we’re talking about a north-facing panel array, the sun is weaker in the morning, strongest in the afternoon, and then weaker again as the sun is going down. When you compress these various degrees of sun strength into uniform units (PSH), you come out with about 5.2PSH for Perth. If you have 1 kilowatt (kW) of perfectly efficient solar panels, and you shine 5.2PSH on them, you will get (1kW x 5.2PSH =) 5.2kWh of solar electricity.

      The 4 sunshine hour figure was not technically correct–it should not have been sunshine hours of input, but rather kWh of output. To explain further: A solar PV system is never perfectly efficient; it is realistic to expect about 80% efficiency from a typical solar array. If the total nameplate capacity of your array is 1kW, and you live in Perth (where you can expect 5.2PSH per day on average), then in a ‘100% efficient’ scenario, your system will produce (1kW x 5.2PSH =) 1kWh of electricity. Once we apply the 80% to this figure, we get down to about 4.16kWh, which is a more realistic expectation for a well-designed and optimally installed system. This is where the original 4kWh figure came from. Applying this 80% efficiency derating to a 5kW solar system, we would get (5kW x 5.2PSH x 80% =) 20.8kWh.

      Hope this helps! Feel free to get in touch if you have any more questions.

  12. Do you have any other calculators? Will the one for Perth work anywhere else?!

    Great post, thanks a lot :-)

    1. Hi Tom,

      The Perth calculator will essentially work for the whole of Australia, the Perth specific data is the system price which comes from your Solar Quote Comparison. If you put in all your details you will get a price for systems in your area, you may also need to change the average sunlight hours for your state or area.

      We have specific calculators for different states and system sizes which you can check out by searching ‘ROI’ on our website.

      Hope this helps

  13. I am curerntly researching the advantages of Solar in the current scheme of rebates etc and (please correct me if I am wrong) the following statement in the text of your web site I would find hard to believe because you would have to be cosuming all the power during the core sun hours of the day – most households I would expect have highest consumption outside the hours of the solar generated power. So to say a 5Kw system “just about covers the daily consumption” I would suggest is misleading.

    Quote” Household demand varies by the size of family and the appliances used and how frequently, but as a ‘base case’, the average 3-person home uses 20kWh per day, averaged over the course of a year. This means that with a 5kW solar system, the home’s energy consumption is just about covered by the system’s output”

    1. Hi Ken,

      Yes, you’re right that that information could be misinterpreted, so I’ve changed the wording. If there is a Feed-in Tariff (which there no longer is in WA), it could be possible to offset your entire bill with a solar PV system. However, in the absence of such a scheme, it is necessary to instead ensure that all the solar power is being consumed as it is being produced–otherwise you are ‘wasting’ the power by letting it go into the grid for 8c/kWh. The system does still, however, afford significant benefit to those looking to reduce their electricity bills.

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