Free Engineer - Blog Post

How Much Should You Pay for a Good Solar PV System Right Now?

A few people you know seem to have gone solar or be considering solar?

Increasing energy prices are so obvious from the news or when comparing your bills from the past few years?

You’ve got a solar quote but you are concerned if you’ll be paying too much? Or do doorknockers offer you really cheap systems all the time?

The technology, solar market, equipment costs and ‘the rebates’ are changing rapidly. Hence, it’s very difficult to understand what prices are fair, unless you are a solar professional yourself. How do you know you will not be taken for a ride?

This 7-minute guide will help you understand if you are paying too much for your solar or too little? (as of 3rd quarter of 2017)

Paying too little can be more expensive for you….How and Why? Please read till the end.

If you’re not sure solar worth it in 2017, then click here:[]

Why this blog & Who we are

We are specialist 3rd-party engineers who talk to solar installers and assess solar quotes everyday, for both residential and commercial solar. This gives us unique, up-to-date knowledge & perspective to help you navigate your solar/ energy storage journey.

How much should you pay?

How can you get cheap solar? That’s a good question because you can get 5kW system for less than $6000 after STC discount out there. However, another question to consider is: “How expensive can cheap solar be?”

It’s sad to hear a lady (Mrs B) recently told us about her problematic system left by an installer who went under. This system hasn’t been certified for electrical safety and unable to sell power to the grid because it hasn’t been approved by the electricity companies. She has been desperate for help for months!

We’ve heard equipment that stopped working or were underperforming only within a few months after installation.

What about cases where the system was not safe and part of it caught fire?

Solar can give you up to 25-year return. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to get competitive quotes in the market but from trusted quality installers?

Simplified benchmark is $/ W figures (based on total panels kW, not inverter kW). It’s quite simple maths:

Total install price ÷ Panels total kW ÷ 1000 = $/ W of the system

Price table 3.jpg

*The above are our suggestions and excluding STC (Small Technology Certificates) upfront discount. We found this is a simpler benchmark because STC value changes. In fact, it did considerably recently.

There are variables such as:

  1. Tilt frames required? Usually suggested by installer if your roof orientation is not optimal – allow $25 - $70 extra per panel
  2. Microinverters/ DC optimiser required? – allow 15%-20% extra if you want to individually optimise & monitor panel performance – more relevant if shading is an issue
  3. The complexity of your roof: the pitch (very steep roof requires more installation effort), different type of roof may require different mounting
  4. Equipment quality - we recommend tier 1/ good quality equipment to ensure you get good return on investment long-term
  5. High quality higher output PV panel (300W+) usually dictates more premium pricing
  6. Consumption monitoring – extra monitoring feature so you can understand your consumption - allow around $500 if you want it

There’s economy of scale as you go to higher kW size obviously. The above are primarily based on installs in VIC. Different states correspond to different prices, for example WA installs can be about 15%-25% less than VIC’s figures.

You're considering solar?

One thing is definite, if you want to get the best deal, then you need to compare 2-3 quotes from pre-vetted quality installers (not dodgy or unproven ones!). Instead of spending many hours researching and contacting installers 1 by 1, we’ve done it for you – if you’re ready to consider solar, just 12 seconds to request for quotes below:

See here for the process we use to carefully select installers:[]

Did you know you can also save people's lives by going solar? click here:[]

Posted on Sep 03, 2017

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