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Are solar panels worth it in Perth, WA?

With incentives having changed significantly both nationally and on the state level, many of those who are considering going solar ask themselves the question: “Is a solar system still worth the investment in Perth?” Thanks to the falling cost of solar panels around the world and the rising price of grid electricity in Australia and WA, the answer is ‘yes’ for the right homes and businesses. This article is an overview of the benefits and options for investing in a solar system in and around Perth, WA.

Solar PV systems are still popular in Perth. Why?

Solar system installation numbers have remained steady in WA even after the reduction of generous state-based feed-in tariff subsidies. More broadly, installation numbers have grown in leaps and bounds across Australia in just the past few years–with figures passing the 1 million solar homes milestone only a short time ago. Although the exact reasons for the financial attractiveness of solar PV systems has changed as both federal and state incentives for solar power have waxed and waned, the fact is that they still offer excellent returns for the right home and business owners.

Federal solar rebates and WA’s solar feed-in tariff

Federal solar rebates have been one of the driving forces behind the growing number of solar PV installations in Australia. Under the country’s Renewable Energy Target scheme, small-scale solar system (up to 100kW in capacity) receive what is in effect an up-front rebate on the cost of installing a system. The amount of this rebate varies by location, system size, and the market price of renewable energy certificates, but, as an example, a 3 kilowatt (kW) solar system in Perth will see a discount of about $1800.

You can see current average system prices for Perth by checking Solar Choice’s most recent Solar PV Price Index.

Although WA state government support for solar PV in the form of a feed-in tariff–where electricity utilities are required to pay a premium for solar power exported to the grid–was one of the major drivers in the solar industry here, this support scheme is no longer open to new applicants. Instead, customers in the southwestern part of WA are offered a rate of 7c per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for solar power through the regional utility company Synergy.

Since this 7c/kWh rate is less than the retail electricity tariff (which is more in the range of 20+c/kWh), homes and businesses with a solar system should endeavour to use much of their solar power as possible themselves in order to obtain the greatest financial benefit. Using the solar power directly instead of selling it back to the grid is sometimes referred to as ‘self-consumption’. Self-consumption means generating your own power, which means needing to purchase less power from the grid. The end result is lower power bills.

Not-for-profits, schools, and community organisations with systems up to 5kW in capacity may also be eligible for generous Solar Buyback rates from from Synergy: Read more.

The falling cost of installing a solar system

If solar PV systems were still as expensive as they were 4-5 years ago, investing in a system would not be as attractive as it currently is.  Even though system prices are expected to begin rising again in 2013, prices are still at historic lows. Decent quality systems can be fully installed at a cost of about $2.00 per watt, but system prices are as low as $1.44/W for 5kW solar systems in Perth.

Ballooning electricity prices

Power prices skyrocketed across the country in recent years, leaving more and more people to look for alternative ways to save money on their power bills. Solar panels have proven to be one of the most popular options for doing this. After all, those who produce a portion of their own power have less need to purchase power from the grid.

Looking to compare solar system prices in Western Australia? Contact Solar Choice

Solar Choice, as Australia’s national solar PV installation brokering and advice service, makes comparing solar installers easy and straightforward. To date, we have helped over 105,000 Australians make an informed choice about going solar.

Get in touch with us and decide for yourself whether solar panels are worth the investment in Perth: Request a Solar Quote Comparison by filling out the form on the right of this page, or by calling Solar Choice on 1300 78 72 73. Our services are 100% free to our customers. 

© 2013 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Comments

  1. Solar is absouletly worth getting, the rates are booming. But you need to make sure you get a good system put into place, not a gimmick. Makes a world of difference.

  2. Hi

    I’m building a new 2 storey house and would like to discuss the benefits of solar power and should we install during construction or after construction.

    THanks, Tony

    1. Hi Tony,

      As far as retrofitting a system onto an existing roof vs installing one during construction, both should be equally easy for an installation company to do (unless you are considering a building-integrated photovoltaic – BIPV – system, which most ordinary homes do not).

      That being said, since your house is not yet built, this means that you have the opportunity to incorporate solar system considerations into your home’s design. If you consider solar access during the design phase, you’re more likely to get the most power out of your system. A couple of examples of how you could do this: ensuring that at least one section of the roof is north-facing and optimally tilted for maximum solar access. The roof could also be designed so that shading from trees, chimneys, etc will not be cast on the panels once they are up and running.

      Hope this helps.

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