How much do solar panels really cost?

Most people want access to clean, affordable energy. Switching to solar not only benefits the environment, but also has the potential to drastically reduce your electricity bills. But even with government rebates and incentives, the upfront costs of the traditional model of installing and maintaining a home solar panel system can really add up.

So how much does it cost to install solar panels on your home?

The answer to this question is far from simple – a fully installed solar panel system can cost you anywhere between $2,500 and $15,000. And there are many factors that influence the total cost, such as:

  • where you live;
  • the retailer or installer you choose;
  • the type, size and quality of your system.

The size you choose depends on the size of your roof and how much energy your household consumes. A typical home uses 20kWh of energy a day, thus a 5kW solar system would meet most of the daytime power needs of such a home.

The table below shows the estimated costs for residential solar systems by size in Australian capital cities. Market costs can change quickly, so please treat this as a general guide only.

System size Number of panels Estimated price range
1.5kW 5 $2,500 – $4,800
3kW 9-12 $3,500 – $6,900
5kW 14-20 $4,500 – $9,500
10kW 28-40 $8,000 – $15,000

As with any product, there are also varying levels of quality, reliability, performance and service, depending on the type of panels and the provider or installer.

Factors affecting the cost of solar panels

Equipment 

It’s worth noting that you don’t just pay for the panels themselves, but also other components such as wiring, cables, mounting hardware and an inverter as well as the labour it takes to install the system. If you decide to add a solar battery, that will also add to your cost. And the larger a system, the more hours of labour it will typically take to install it.

Characteristics of your roof

Sometimes, the installation process requires a roof upgrade, additional electrical work or some landscaping adjustments such as tree trimming. Each of these factors further add to the cost of installation.

Installation providers

There can be vast differences in fees between different providers. Fees can be influenced by the size of the company and their varying sales and design processes, marketing costs and other business expenses.

Warranty and maintenance costs

Additional service costs relating to general maintenance and repairs can come up throughout the lifetime of the solar panel system. These costs should also be taken into account. The warranties offered can also vary and have an influence on the initial and future costs, so it’s important to ask about these details before making your decision. Contact your local solar retailer to answer questions regarding your warranty.

Access an affordable solar panel system

The price you pay for a home solar system can be subsidised by Australian government-run solar rebate schemes. There are also state-level rebates and incentives available to you. The federal solar rebate is set to be reduced in 2020, so home solar installation will become more expensive as this decreases Overall, government rebates and schemes can reduce the cost of a solar panel system, but the system can remain costly. We further cover Australian solar rebates in this article, and why you shouldn’t rely on them for your access to affordable energy.

At Sola.io, we aim to provide everyone with access to affordable, clean energy. We believe the traditional solar provider model unfairly excludes those who could most benefit from cheaper energy bills. We’re on a mission to eliminate the inequality of this traditional solar provider model and provide all eligible people—regardless of income, age, or homeownership—with access to affordable, cleaner energy. Learn how our Solar Network enables our mission to bring power back to the people.