The cost of installing a solar system depends on several factors. The components you choose are one of the most important considerations. Higher-rated panels and inverters will generate more energy at a higher efficiency and last longer but at a higher initial cost.
Cost may also be influenced by the type of roof you have, as different materials necessitate different installation methods. The installer is another factor to consider.
We recommend local family-owned installers, as it will be easier for them to conduct the all-important after-sales service in years to come. Choosing a reputable installation company that charges a fair price but is not necessarily the cheapest is critical.
Finally, government rebates and tax breaks can influence the system's price. Therefore, when requesting a solar and battery installation quote, it is critical to consider all of these factors.
Can different factors affect the solar system cost quoted to me?
Since sun irradiation is quite intense in Australia and New Zealand and solar energy is so abundant in Australia, more and more homeowners realise that there is an untapped potential for significant savings thanks to the sun. One critical question that many home and business owners ask is how much a solar and battery system costs. Several factors must be considered for a solar system installation, which means several factors affect the cost. So let’s check out these factors.
Solar system costs
The most obvious factor that affects the cost of a solar system is the components you choose to go with. Higher quality panels and inverters will generally have higher efficiency, produce more energy, be more reliable and have a longer life than lower quality and cheaper products. So while a cheap panel and inverter might look to the untrained eye like a better product, quality gear will save you more money in the long term and create more clean energy but will have a higher upfront cost.
Also, in the Chinese-made panel space, there is a differentiation between the prominent five manufacturers, such as Trina or Jinko, and the less well-known players who usually try to win customers over on cost. However, with a lower price also comes higher risk because providing excellent and reliable after-sales service with a lower income stream is more complex, especially if the warranties promise decades of support.
Inverters also have different features and prices depending on your chosen brand and model. These two components and the balance of the system (all other parts like rails, cables, and fuses) will significantly influence the solar system cost.
Adding a solar battery
If you add a battery, this will, of course, add to the system’s benefits, but also the price. The size of the battery, location required cable run and brand will all create price variations.
However, just because they do, does not mean you should pick cheaper options. Some examples of how cheap solar systems get their price lower are using less qualified installation staff, installing fewer clamps to screw down the rails or using thinner cables to connect the approach to the inverter.
While the ordinary customer could not tell these differences, the longevity of the PV system is threatened by some of these budget measures. When a cheap solar system company cuts corners, the end customer will make less money.
Solar and batteries are long-term investments, so ensure your components will last.
Roof type and pitch
Positioning the panels correctly during a residential solar system installation is crucial for maximising sunlight exposure.
This is not a problem for most Australian homes with 20 to 25 degrees pitched roofs. However, when you have a flat or skillion-style roof, the panels will need to be tilted off the roof to improve the angle to the sun for increased generation, plus enable rainwater to run off the panels.
For this roof type, the installer must include mounting systems or A-frames to ensure proper panel tilting, leading to an increased solar system cost.
Steeper-pitched roofs above 30 degrees will likely incur additional costs due to the difficulty of working on the roof surface. In this case, the installer may need to include the price of a cherry picker or similar to enable the installers to safely access and work on the roof.
Furthermore, your roof type may also affect the system’s price. Different materials may require other methods or extra care in the installation, such as slate or terracotta tiles.
For this reason, you may find that an installer will charge varying prices for different roof materials as some, such as slate, require more care and overall work.
Other access factors, such as the roof height, such as two storeys vs single storeys, may attract additional costs.
Then there is the state of the switchboard. With a proper site inspection, the installer can ascertain if the existing switchboard meets the appropriate standards or needs an upgrade to handle the solar system safely.
Unfortunately, the switchboard may not meet modern safety standards for isolation and protection devices for many older homes and may, in some cases, contain asbestos. If this is the case, there will be additional costs for upgrading or replacing the switchboard completely to meet current safety standards. Such a cost could add $1000 or more to the overall cost.
Choice of installer
The next factor that affects the solar system cost is the installer. In solar, while enormous countrywide, marketing-heavy and price-focused companies tend to charge lower costs for the solar system than smaller local and family-owned companies, the skill level of their get-in-and-out fast crews often leaves something to desire.
However, don’t take that information out of context because a small unknown company that no one has ever heard of and quickly comes into town for a bulk offer can also leave you with a shonky installation job that costs you thousands in the future to keep going.
Therefore, you should choose someone in the middle, a company known in your local area as a reliable installation company that also provides a cost that offers value. If the payback of your system is calculated at between 4 and 5 years, and then you get a decade or even two decades of annual savings, then that’s, in our opinion, a good deal.
Therefore, depending on what type of installer you pick, the system’s price will vary.
It is worth recognising that quality costs money and takes time. Lower installation costs can result in a rushed installation, as time is money. This increases the risk of shortcuts and errors being made, which will cause issues down the track.
Federal rebates & tax incentives
If a professional install your system adhering to all Australian Standards and uses approved products like panels, inverters, batteries, etc., most residential solar systems should qualify for government incentives and/or rebates.
In most cases, these incentives will help to reduce the cost of the solar system as a whole. Nevertheless, these incentives depend on location and the size of your system. You can try our rebate calculator to determine the rebate you might qualify for.
As you can see, many variables affect the solar system cost quoted to you, and the above are not all of them.
It is also worth ensuring that when you get a quote, the solar company completes a site inspection to confirm and secure the price. On installation day, customers might notice many of these additional costs imposed by the company, quickly adding up to extra charges.
Nevertheless, if you choose to go solar, get a quote from a reliable and trustworthy, preferably local, installation company.
Please do not let price be the only determining factor when looking into solar as a solar system is a long-term investment, so homeowners should purchase a system that delivers the most prolonged and, therefore, the most significant returns.