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The cost of solar panels in Australia has greatly reduced in recent years. These days, panels are priced anywhere from under a hundred dollars to over five hundred dollars each. The cost of solar panels depends on various factors explained here.
It’s very important when selecting the best size of solar panels to use for your solar power system installation to bear in mind a few crucial factors. Factors aside from the price tag. Your purchase decision is one you’ll be living with for a very long time and you need to get the best return on your investment.
Don’t base a buying decision on panel cost alone. Following are a few tips for choosing the best modules for your installation situation.
For a more comprehensive understanding tailored to your specific needs, Energy Matters provides an opportunity to obtain FREE solar quotes, offering valuable insights that extend beyond the monetary aspect, ensuring a decision for a sustainable and efficient solar solution.
Are you looking to save money on your electricity bills and reduce your carbon footprint? Solar energy is the perfect solution! Energy Matters can help you get up to 3 FREE quotes from pre-qualified and vetted solar firms in your area.
How to find the right solar panels for your home in Australia
Switching to solar energy is a smart move for homeowners looking to save money and reduce their carbon footprint. However, choosing the right solar panels can be a daunting task. With so many different sizes and wattages available, it can take time to know where to start. Here are a few factors to consider when making your decision:
Determine your energy needs
The first step in selecting the right solar panels for your home is to assess your energy needs. This involves reviewing your past electricity bills to determine your average monthly consumption, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). For instance, if your average monthly consumption is 1,000 kWh, you would require a solar panel system capable of generating at least 1,000 kWh of electricity monthly.
Consider the size of your roof
Roof size and orientation play a crucial role in solar panel selection. The size of your roof determines the number of panels you can accommodate, while the orientation affects energy generation efficiency. In Australia, north-facing panels are ideal, while south-facing panels are preferred in the Northern Hemisphere. East and west-facing panels can also produce a substantial amount of solar energy.
Choose the right wattage
The wattage of solar panels refers to the amount of power they can generate. It’s important to choose panels with the right wattage for your energy needs. If you have a large home with high energy consumption, you will need solar power with a higher wattage. However, if you have a small home with lower energy consumption, you may get by with solar system with a lower wattage. Choose panels with the right wattage for your energy needs.
Consider your budget
You want to choose solar panels that provide good value for your money. However, you want to maintain quality for a higher price. Make sure to research the different types of panels and compare prices to find the best option for your budget.
Research solar panel brands
Not all panels are created equal. It’s important to research different solar panel brands and choose a reputable brand with a proven track record. Make sure there is a warranty and a high-efficiency rating to avoid excess solar energy.
Get quotes from multiple installers
Get quotes from at least three different solar installers before making a decision. This will help you get the best price for your solar system.
Ensuring your solar panels are compatible with your roof
Solar energy has become an increasingly popular way for homeowners to reduce their energy bills and environmental impact.
However, before you install solar panels, it’s essential to ensure they are compatible with your roof. This means considering factors like the angle, size, and orientation of your roof to determine the best placement and selection of different types.
Angle of the roof
The angle of your roof is an essential consideration when it comes to solar panel installation. Ideally, your roof should have a south-facing aspect, as this will provide the maximum exposure to the sun. However, not all roofs face south, and some may have an east or west-facing aspect. If your roof faces east or west, you may need to install additional panels to compensate for the reduced exposure to the sun. Solar panels should be installed in an area that receives direct sunlight for most of the day.
Size of the roof
The size of your roof is another critical factor to consider when installing solar panels in Australia. The more significant your roof, the more panels you can install, which will generate more electricity.
However, if your roof is small, you may need to install fewer panels, or you may need to consider alternative options like ground-mounted panels.
Orientation of the roof
The orientation of your roof is also important when it comes to solar panel installation. The ideal orientation for solar panels is a roof that faces due south and has a pitch between 20 and 30 degrees.
However, if your roof has a different orientation, your solar panel installer may be able to adjust the angle of the panels to compensate for this.
In Australia, there are several options for roof-mounted solar panel installations, including standard panels, thin-film panels, and building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). Standard panels are the most common type of panel, mounted on brackets fixed to the roof. Thin-film panels are lighter and more flexible than standard panels, making them suitable for roofs with irregular shapes or structures. BIPV panels are integrated into the roof, providing a more aesthetically pleasing look.
To ensure your panels are compatible with your roof, it’s essential to work with a qualified solar panel installer. They will be able to assess your roof’s angle, size, and orientation and recommend the best options for your specific needs.
Additionally, they will be able to advise you on the best type of solar system to use, taking into account your budget, energy needs, and aesthetic preferences.
By taking into account factors like the angle, size, and orientation of your roof, you can determine the best placement and selection of solar panels. Working with a qualified solar panel installer is essential to ensure you get the most out of your solar energy system.
Energy Matters has been a leader in the renewable energy industry since 2005 and has helped over 40,000 Australian households in their journey to energy independence.
Let us discuss and choose the best quote that suits your needs and budget, and we can connect you with our trusted local installers, who will provide up to 3 FREE quotes for your home and business solar energy system. Get your free quotes today!
How much do solar panels cost?
The cost of solar panels depends on a number of factors. Generally speaking, in relation to modules suitable for use on a home grid connect system installation, they cost a few hundred dollars each with subsidies taken into consideration.
The cost of a solar panel is determined in part by the following:
- Its capacity (in Watts),
- physical size,
- quality of materials,
- durability/longevity (or warranty period)
- and any certifications the solar panel might have.
Your price will also depend on the number of panels installed in a package if you buy a full solar system. The more modules in the system, the lower the cost per panel unit.
However, choosing panels on price alone is not wise. What you select may not fit the area in which you wish to install it, or the brand/model may not have the necessary certifications to qualify for government rebates.
The modules may not provide the best performance to help ensure economic payback of the power produced. Or perhaps there is no solid warranty from a well-established company.
How to choose solar panels?
To find out the best solar panels available in Australia, you should know the different tiers manufacturers are categorised in that determine the quality of the solar panels they sell.
In addition, we will also talk about the cost. This will give you a general idea to guide you in setting a budget for your solar system.
3 tiers of solar panel quality
In addition to cost, when choosing the best solar panel for your installation, it’s important to consider its manufacture and materials used.
There are three tiers of manufacturer quality and Energy Matters only supplies solar panels from the first tier.
Tier 1 solar panels Australia
Tier 1 solar PV panel manufacturers represent the top 2% of the industry. They are vertically integrated, meaning they control the entire manufacturing process, invest heavily in research and development, use advanced robotic processes, and have over five years of experience. Tier 1 producers utilise the purest silicon to produce solar cells, resulting in longer-lasting and more efficient solar panels.
REC Solar, LONGi, and SunPower are examples of Tier 1 manufacturers recommended by Energy Matters. However, not all companies claiming to be Tier 1 meet the same standards. Quality can vary greatly, so it’s important to conduct thorough due diligence when selecting solar panels for your needs.
Tier 2 solar panels Australia
Tier 2 includes companies who invest less in research and development, are reliant on both robotic and manual assembly on production lines and have often been in solar panel manufacture for 2 – 5 years. These Tier 2 manufacturers can produce good panels at good prices, but it can be a hit and miss affair.
Tier 3 solar panels Australia
Tier 3 encompasses 90% of new solar PV manufacturers. These companies assemble panels only. They usually don’t manufacture their cells and don’t invest in research and development.
While often available at a cheaper price, Tier 3 manufacturers use human production lines for manual soldering of solar cells. This often isn’t the best approach as quality can vary from operator to operator and day to day. A Tier 3 solar panel in Australia may in the long run cost you much more in terms of reliability and electricity output.
Source: Solar Demand Dynamics, Cost Structures, Policy Factors, and Competitive Differentiators for Suppliers: Market Analysis and Forecasts (Pike Research) 12.04.2011
Panel cost vs. value - other factors
As not all module manufacturers are equal. There are a variety of other factors that should influence your purchase decision rather than focusing solely on cost.
Solar panel Australia shopping checklist
|Points to consider when choosing the best solar panel brands in Australia today.|
|✔||Efficiency:||The efficiency of a solar panel refers to how much sunlight it converts into electricity. Panels with higher efficiency will generate more power, even in low-light conditions.|
|✔||Warranty:||A good warranty will protect you in case of defects or performance issues. Look for a warranty that covers at least 25 years.|
|✔||Durability:||The panels must withstand the harsh Australian climate, including extreme heat and UV radiation. Choose panels made from durable materials with a good track record of performance.|
|✔||Price:||It can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per panel. It’s important to find a balance between quality and affordability.|
|✔||Brand reputation:||Choose a reputable solar panel brand with a good track record of customer satisfaction.|
|✔||Tolerance:||This is the range a panel will either exceed or not meet its rated power. For example, a solar module you purchase may have a ‘nameplate’ wattage of 200W. However, due to quality control issues, the output in ideal conditions may in reality only be 195W. A positive tolerance rating means the module will not only generate 200 watts, but perhaps more under standard testing conditions.|
|✔||Temperature co-efficient:||The temperature co-efficient rating is important to determine the impact heat has on a solar panel’s operation after installation. The lower the percentage per degree Celsius, the better. The price of a module with low temperature co-efficiency can be a little more, but in Australia’s often hot conditions, a little extra cost can be worth it.|
|✔||Conversion efficiency:||The efficiency of how a solar panel converts light into electrical energy will determine how much power your system generates. If two solar panels cost the same, but one has a higher conversion efficiency, then that module provides the better value for money. That is assuming the claimed efficiencies are correct.|
|✔||PID resistance:||PID stands for potential-induced degradation. Caused by stray currents triggered by certain climate conditions, the phenomenon can cause substantial power loss. Good solar panels will display little or no PID.|
|✔||LID resistance:||LID stands for Light induced degradation. This process occurs in the first few months after solar panels are installed. While this stabilises after a period, it can reduce the amount of power the module produces. A good solar panel in Australia will have little or no LID.|
|✔||Embodied energy:||Another important aspect to look at is the embodied energy of the solar panel. That is how energy intensive the production of the panel was and how quickly it will have paid itself back by producing more energy. Consider this aspect an environmental cost.|
|✔||Durability / Longevity / Warranty:||When investing in solar panels, it’s crucial to consider the durability, longevity, and warranty coverage provided by the manufacturer. Opt for reputable brands like REC Solar that offer a 25-year performance warranty, ensuring your panels can withstand harsh weather conditions and deliver consistent performance for many years. A comprehensive warranty will protect your investment in case of any defects or issues, providing peace of mind and ensuring the long-term viability of your solar energy system. Additionally, selecting a well-established manufacturer and an authorised installer will guarantee prompt and effective warranty service if needed.|
|✔||Size and watts capacity:||Determining your energy needs is crucial in selecting the right solar panels for your home. Solar panels are priced based on their wattage capacity, with higher-wattage panels costing more. The size of a solar panel is also influenced by its wattage and the type of solar cells used. Ensure your system size can power your appliances and fits within the available installation area. Carefully consider future expansion plans to avoid premature replacement of existing panels. North-facing roof space is valuable for solar panels, so consider plans when installing panels.|
|✔||Types of solar cells used:||There are 3 main types of solar cells: monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, and amorphous silicon. Monocrystalline silicon is the most efficient type of solar cell but is also the most expensive. Polycrystalline silicon is less efficient than monocrystalline silicon, but it is also less expensive. Amorphous silicon is the least efficient type of solar cell, but it is also the cheapest. The best type of solar cell for you will depend on your budget and needs.|
|✔||Prioritising factors:||When choosing solar panels in Australia, it’s important to prioritise your needs. For example, if you live in an area with high wind or snow, you may want to prioritise durability over efficiency. If you have a limited budget, you may need to prioritise price over efficiency. However, it’s important to remember that choosing lower quality solar panels may cost you more money in the long run.|
In summary, these are the major points you should bear in mind when buying solar panels aside from cost:
- Consider how the module is manufactured and the materials used.
- Carefully research how the panels perform in real world situations. This includes positive tolerance, temperature co-efficient rating, PID and LID resistance, prioritise factors and efficiency.
- Compare the warranty details of the solar panels you are considering buying.
- Learn more about the company that manufactures the modules
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Updated November 2023