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
When 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)|
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2. Solar panels help Perth homes save money on their power bills
There 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.)
3. Government incentives mean low solar system prices in Perth
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.
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4. Rooftop solar offers great returns (and short payback periods) for Perth homes & businesses
Rooftop 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-
|30% solar used 70% exported||60% solar used 40% exported||20% solar used 80% exported||40% solar used 60% exported|
|4.7 year payback||3.1 year payback||4 year payback||3 year payback|
|21% IRR||31% IRR||24% IRR||34% 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)
5. Perth is one of the best cities in Australia for battery storage
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.)
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.
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