Solar power systems are becoming increasingly affordable, along with battery storage solutions. The cost of your system will vary based on the system size you install, mostly because this relates to the number of solar panels required to generate the energy, and the size of the inverter required to convert your roof-top generation from Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC). Your option may well be limited to your available roof space and the type of roof you have.
Will prices drop more?
The most commonly installed system is a 3kW system, which requires twelve, 250W panels and costs around $9,000 installed.
Although still an ‘emerging technology’ in terms of the number of people with solar energy systems, the actual technology itself has been around for a while now. As demand gradually increases, the cost per unit to produce the components (like solar panels) is likely to reduce, however not by the levels we have seen over the last seven years. Significant reductions in the price of solar over recent years has been driven by increased manufacturing scale and improved manufacturing processes.
We expect the cost of solar systems will continue to decline for a while yet. However, the rate of price declines is likely to slow. Changes to other factors such as the exchange rate and import costs may also move prices – but not always downward! A significant portion of the total cost of a solar energy installation is the 'installation costs' which includes the labour and general associated costs such as vehicle mileage. While hardware costs will continue to decline, the installation cost component is unlikely to, and some increase in line with inflation could be expected.
There are a few companies offering to provide multiple quotes for you to compare across up to three providers. Be sure to shop around, and to also check the facts around any forecast savings provided, as well as the terms of the agreement.
Decrease in price for a Solar Power System
Will the technology change?
Solar technology is now reasonably mature, and any changes to the technology are likely to be incremental improvements in efficiency and a few ‘smarts’, but they are not likely to be groundbreaking. The focus for the industry is shifting to producing a cost-efficient battery storage system, with growth in electric vehicles further driving this. When batteries become more affordable, these could be fitted retrospectively, and will improve the utilisation of solar generation.
What other costs should I factor in?
In addition to the cost of the system, you may be required to get consent from your Council, under local planning and building compliance.
Unison’s Distributed Generation connection process includes a charge of $100 plus GST to cover the cost of processing each application (including reviewing the technical information provided and approving the connection).
Going forward, you will also need to have your solar panels maintained, as build-ups of dust and dirt reduce their efficiency (output). You can either do this yourself, or pay a service provider to do this.