The cost of solar panels
Last updated: January 2024
Solar panel prices
Solar panel costs are now at a point where it is possible to pay back a good quality system within five years. The exact solar payback calculation depends on where you live, and how much and when you use electricity.
Solar panel prices include the cost of the panels, installation, GST and the federal government rebate.
Cost of solar panels to remain steady in 2024
The solar industry has seen the dramatic drop in the cost per watt of solar panels since 2015, with the cost of solar PV modules worldwide decreasing some 74%. More recently, an increase in the cost of polysilicon, together with some supply chain issues has seen the wholesale cost of solar increase. The good news is that the cost of installing a solar panel system is forecast to stabilise and even come down slightly.
Solar panel price variables
Solar panel prices and the power they generate vary according to your location. The prices include the government solar panel rebate which is still available for another 11 years. One of the significant variances in solar panels costs is the quality of components you select and whom you engage to perform the installation. Other variables affect the total cost of buying solar panels; these include:
- System size
- Location (for solar rebate)
- Competitiveness of the local market
- Quality of panels you select
- Quality of installation
- Site and orientation issues
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Solar panel cost calculator
Estimated cost of your solar panels
Why solar panel quotes vary
When you are comparing solar quotes, you may receive estimates for the same size system that are wildly different. A price for a 6.6kW solar system can vary from $6,000 – $8,500. Use the toggle below to see explanations for the possible price differences:
|Good components installed by a reputable company
|CEC approved, may be Tier 1 panels
|Is an entire system warranty provided?
|A cheap system and reliability may become an issue
|Make sure they are CEC approved
|Will your company be around to honour the warranty?
|Are your installers CEC accredited?
|A budget system you hope is reliable
|Ensure they are approved modules
|You are likely not getting the best warranties
|Will your installation company be around in 5 years?
|Good system installed by a top company
|CEC approved, likely Tier 1 panels
|Installation by a professional team
|The best quality panels and installation
|Long-lasting and highly efficient
|Performed by a highly reputable company
Quality of solar panels
The best solar panels will cost you more, and they will also outperform and outlast inferior modules. Selecting between top-quality panels is very much a matter of personal choice, but we highly recommend you do not select cheap solar panels.
Inverters are the engine room of your solar system, which means they are often the first component to break down. Better inverters last longer and are more efficient, but they cost more.
Avoid cheap solar panels
There are numerous reasons why you should think twice before buying a cheap solar panel system. A cheap system is one where the solar panel cost is far lower than average industry prices.
- 1. Value vs cost
- 2. Don’t risk your solar rebate
- 3. Cheap inverters fail
- 4. Check the warranties
- 5. Substandard installs
1. Value vs cost
Buying solar panels is an investment and not a cost purchase. Solar panels generate savings. When deciding if solar panels are worth it, you should consider the savings potential over 25 years and not the number of years it will take to pay back the system. A system that pays back in four years but underperforms for 20 years is not a good investment.
2. You risk losing your solar rebate
If you do buy a cheap system, you need to ensure that the Clean Energy Council has approved the panels and inverter you buy. If you are not buying CEC approved products, you will not receive your solar rebate, this could instantly add between $1,500 – $2,000 to the cost of a 5kW system.
3. Cheap inverters are more likely to fail
The component of your system most likely to break down is the inverter. You may find that a cheap inverter breaks down far earlier than anticipated, perhaps around the 5-year mark. The cost to replace the inverter could be around the $2,000 mark, a cost that you can potentially avoid by buying better.
4. Consider warranties
You need to check the solar warranties that come with your system. For cheap solar panels, go straight to the product warranty and the inverter warranty. The best solar panels have product warranties lasting 25 years whereas cheap system may only cover you for 5 or 10 years. You also need to consider whether or not the installer company or manufacturer of your system will be in business in five years.
5. Substandard installs
Solar companies that cut corners on installation are more likely to offer you a cheaper system. The Clean Energy Regulator’s recent inspection report revealed that 25.82% of all installs were substandard. The risk of poor installation decreases if you pay a little more and do your homework on your solar company.
The cost of your solar panels includes installation. Your property may throw up issues that increase the cost of your panels. For example, if you have an east-west roof orientation or your roof is subject to shading, you may need to consider microinverters or power optimisers.
Microinverters can increase the total cost of your system by up to 20%. You will likely reap the benefits of the additional cost in efficiency improvements.
A double-storey house can increase the cost of your solar power system as can any access issues to your property.
Smart monitoring devices
You can decide to purchase a smart monitoring unit with your solar panels to ensure that your system is performing adequately. Smart monitors cost between $250 – $350. These devices often pay for themselves as you are far more aware of your energy consumption and your solar production.
Paying for a reliable team to install your system is vital. Many solar companies outsource the installation to sub-contractors, which is fine, but you need to make sure you know who is performing the installation and providing the entire system warranty. If one company is charging more for the solar panel installation, consider which business is more likely to be around in five-years if there is a performance issue with your system.
Getting accurate costs for your property
We publish the average cost of solar panels; however, there may be variances that impact on the cost of a system at your property. We recommend getting three quotes through our website to get accurate quotes on the cost of installing solar panels. Not only will you receive an accurate price of the cost to install, but you will select from three highly reputable companies that will recommend quality components and provide warranties that ensure your system performs as it should.