The August 2013 Solar PV Price Index marks 1 year since Solar Choice began publishing solar system installation prices in August 2012. While it is clear that figures have come down markedly for 4kW and 5kW systems since that time, cost reductions for the smaller system sizes–although present–have not been as distinct.

This month’s figures for were derived from a larger data set than usual for Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. Conversely, the number of installers included in the Hobart calculations shrank slightly, yielding numbers that would at first glance appear to reveal huge installation price reductions there.

Average installation costs by city & system size

The table below contains the average solar system installation prices for all capital cities besides Darwin. Although Sydney and Perth are still home to the least expensive systems on offer (see $/W table in the following section), this month Hobart boasts the lowest average system prices when it comes to larger solar systems (3kW, 4kW, 5kW).

It is important to note, however, that only 2 installers were included in the Hobart calculations, with the remaining installer–offering a zero-down solar leasing deal–excluded. Meanwhile, the highest average system prices can now be found in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Solar Choice: Average Solar PV System Prices* – August 2013
1.5kW 2kW 3kW 4kW 5kW
Adelaide, SA $3,933 $4,801 $5,819 $7,451 $8,451
Brisbane, QLD $3,861 $4,756 $6,178 $7,730 $8,920
Canberra, ACT $3,081 $3,848 $5,481 $7,603 $8,636
Hobart, TAS $3,239 $4,089 $5,139 $6,989 $7,839
Melbourne, VIC $3,855 $4,606 $6,101 $7,720 $8,997
Sydney, NSW $3,018 $3,922 $5,400 $7,143 $8,238
Perth, WA $3,168 $4,035 $5,191 $7,034 $8,106
All $3,450 $4,294 $5,616 $7,381 $8,455
*Incorporate federal STC discount

$/W solar system prices for August 2013

The following table shows STC-inclusive installation prices for 1.5kW, 2kW, 3kW, 4kW and 5kW solar systems. Where explicitly detailed in installer data, STCs accounted for a discount of about 66c per watt for the Zone 3 cities (Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane), and about 55c/W for Zone 4. No STC numbers were available in the data from Hobart or Canberra installers this month.

Solar Choice: PV system prices, $/Watt – August 2013
1.5kW 2kW 3kW 4kW 5kW
Adelaide, SA Average $2.54 $2.38 $1.96 $1.90 $1.68
High $3.72 $3.03 $2.41 $2.14 $2.08
Low $1.70 $1.99 $1.66 $1.70 $1.54
Brisbane, QLD Average $2.50 $2.35 $2.07 $1.95 $1.77
High $3.78 $3.28 $2.88 $2.61 $2.23
Low $1.59 $1.66 $1.47 $1.64 $1.42
Canberra, ACT Average $1.89 $1.95 $1.85 $1.93 $1.71
High $2.18 $2.14 $1.99 $2.08 $1.95
Low $1.70 $1.71 $1.66 $1.70 $1.54
Hobart, TAS Average $2.02 $2.04 $1.71 $1.75 $1.57
High $2.18 $2.10 $1.77 $1.80 $1.60
Low $1.70 $1.99 $1.66 $1.70 $1.54
Melbourne, VIC Average $2.47 $2.28 $2.06 $1.95 $1.80
High $4.17 $3.47 $3.13 $2.53 $2.53
Low $1.70 $1.95 $1.66 $1.57 $1.57
Sydney, NSW Average $1.95 $1.96 $1.80 $1.79 $1.66
High $2.97 $2.72 $2.26 $2.01 $1.95
Low $1.32 $1.65 $1.47 $1.58 $1.41
Perth, WA Average $2.02 $2.00 $1.75 $1.74 $1.60
High $2.34 $2.15 $2.06 $2.04 $2.93
Low $1.70 $1.85 $1.60 $1.47 $1.40
All Average $2.20 $2.14 $1.89 $1.85 $1.69
High $4.17 $3.47 $3.13 $2.61 $2.53
Low $1.32 $1.65 $1.47 $1.47 $1.40

Solar PV system prices to date

Average system prices continued to fall in the ACT (albeit more gradually) following the sharp drop that was observable between June and July. Prices in most other cities have similarly fallen in varying degrees, except for Sydney and (to a lesser degree) Brisbane, where slight rises were observable, possibly due to the inclusion of new installer data in those cities. The biggest change, however, as noted above, was in Hobart, with apparently sharp reductions across all system sizes.

1.5kW solar system prices Aug 2013

2kW solar system prices Aug 2013

3kW solar system prices Aug 2013

4kW solar system prices Aug 2013

5kW solar system prices Aug 2013

About this data

Tables and charts included in this article were created using data from Solar Choice’s installer network database, which contains regularly-updated pricing and product details from over 125 solar installation companies across Australia. Prices do not incorporate meter installation fees or additional costs for difficult installations. The discount available to Solar Choice customers is also excluded from the calculations, as are prices for ‘premium’ installer offerings.

About Solar Choice

Solar Choice is a solar PV installation and advice service based in Sydney, NSW, providing free Solar Quote Comparisons for residential solar customers Australia-wide. Solar Choice’s commercial wing, Solar Choice Commercial, manages tenders for medium- to large-scale solar projectes for a wide range of clients.

© 2013 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

James Martin II

James Martin II

James has been Solar Choice's analyst and communications manager since 2010. He is Solar Choice's primary writer, and is responsible for composing Solar Choice's monthly Solar PV Price Index articles.
James Martin II

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Photomofoo August 21, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Thanks a lot for helping with my questions and providing the links. I’ve already recommended you guys to my Australian extended family.

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Solar Choice August 22, 2013 at 3:29 am

Thanks for recommending us! Glad we could be of assistance. Are you located outside Australia yourself?

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Photomofoo August 14, 2013 at 6:53 am

In Sydney, Hobart and Canberra the average cost of 2 kW systems is more than 1.5 kW systems? This doesn’t make sense to me. Is this due to a small sample size or is there some other mechanism at work?

Any idea where one can find opensource monthly data on the value of the STCs? I’d just like to have a feel for the unsubsidized cost of solar in Australia. I’m figuring about $30 across the board. Is that reasonable?

Any rumors of cutting back on the STCs in the nearterm? Would that be a post election thing?

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Solar Choice August 15, 2013 at 2:43 am

Hi Photomofoo,

Thanks for reading. I would attribute that disparity to the small sample size–the trend in all other cases is for $/W costs to decrease as system sizes increase.

Not sure where you can find open source data on STC prices, but the Clean Energy Council has STC and LGC spot prices listed at the top of their homepage, and Green Energy Trading has them here. As written in the article, the average STC discount works out to about 66c/W in zone 3 cities, which can be calculated backwards to about $32/STC for a 5kW system (which gets 103 STCs), so you’re pretty much on the mark with $30. I’d say that prices range from about $28 to $32/STC, though, with some installers offering more, some less (at least for this month).

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