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Solar panels are not the cheapest way to upgrade or enhance your home, but they are one of the options that actually gives back. Adding solar panels can improve the equity in your house in case you want to sell in the future. They also generate power to offset your monthly electric bill.
Many homeowners are interested in solar panels because they are a form of green energy, not relying on non-renewable resources to power daily lives. And while the cost might be a bit steep to begin with, they can even pay for themselves down the line.
Before you price out how much house solar panels cost, it can help to understand the benefits of solar power. We’ll also take a look at the various factors that impact how much solar panels cost in Perth so you can prepare for your purchase.
It can be hard to believe that you’ll actually save money when you start to shop around for solar panels. After all, depending on your power needs and a few other factors, the rates for supplies and install can get rather high.
Generally speaking, you can expect to pay a rather large up-front sum for solar panels. However, these systems pay for themselves typically within five years.
How do they do this? The power they generate starts to offset your need to rely on the main utility grid, pushing down your regular electric bill. In some cases, they can also create more electricity than your home can use at once. The extra power is passed along to the grid power grid. In Australia, this excess electricity is credited back to homeowners as a feed-in tariff. You’ll see this as a credit on your electricity bill as applicable.
To start with, a professional solar panel system installer should guide the way on your panel quantity needs. Thankfully, you shouldn’t need to figure this out on your own. But what goes into determining how many panels get affixed to your roof in the first place?
It all comes down to how much power you need. A typical home in Perth uses around 18kWh of electricity daily, so a 5kW solar system should be enough to supplement your power needs. These systems will include between 15-20 solar panels to achieve that power output.
Remember that as the sunlight varies (i.e. cloudy days or months when the daylight hours are fewer), the system will generate less power overall. Installers balance the number of panels out to help avoid shortages, although any homes that remain connected to the grid should not go without power completely.
Even if you have dreams of complete energy independence, you might not be able to do so if you simply don’t have the room to install enough panels. Solar installers will examine your roof space and structure and determine the number of panels that your home can physically support. This includes both area and weight.
Maybe you don’t think you need 18kWh of power. You have a smaller home, or there are only two people living there with lower energy needs. This might tempt you to go with fewer panels. However, there are some benefits to going with more than you may think you want.
Larger systems that generate excess power can increase the feed-in tariff we noted earlier. Rates and limits vary depending on where you live in Australia. Solar panels cost in Perth can be offset by a feed-in tariff of 7.1c per kilowatt. This is much lower than other states, but there is no cap in place. And Perth averages 6 hours of sunlight each day, year round, making it one of the more reliable places to depend on for solar energy.
One other factor to consider, which will also affect costs, is whether you plan to use a solar battery. Even if you don’t think you need one now, you should make sure you have enough solar panels to support charging a battery if you plan to add one in the future.
Solar batteries can be a great way to store excess energy during outages or to run off of rather than paying for electricity on the grid. These batteries come in different sizes and at varying prices and can often drive up solar power panels cost significantly.
We’ve already hinted that house solar panels cost different depending on how many panels you have and your storage needs. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the cost drivers when it comes to this energy alternative.
Most solar panel projects will have a base cost to cover the time, travel, and labor of the team doing the install. But the number of panels you need will also drive the price up. The more you need, the more you will pay for materials.
Most solar panels are designed to install on racks or mounts that get attached to a roof. This gives installers an expectation of structure, supports, and pitch. If you want to install your solar panels on a carport or on the ground, you might pay more for extra mounts or supports.
The condition, material, and pitch of your roof can also matter here. Different brackets, flashing, and racks are used for metal and shingled roofs. If you have a very flat roof, the solar panels may need additional components to angle them properly. All of these parts, and the extra time spent to install them, can contribute to the final solar power panels cost.
Solar panels work by taking the heat and rays from the sun and converting it into energy as it interacts with the chemicals in each solar panel cell. To make this energy useable, it needs to be converted from direct current (DC) electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity. This is done through an inverter.
There are different inverter types, each with different benefits and costs. String inverters connect the panels together and convert the energy along the way. This is a common approach but a bit inefficient. Microinverters are per-panel options but are much more expensive.
With the rise in solar power popularity also came a rise in the number of manufacturers. Buyers now have more options to choose from, but all solar power brands are not created equally.
The best move here is to talk to your solar panel installation provider. They can speak to the differences between the brands and systems they are certified and licensed to install. Some brands require different mounting components or use different materials to produce the same outcome. They can also have differences in how efficient they are when it comes to power conversion.
While you (hopefully!) won’t be paying this up front, it’s important to know that solar panels require a bit of ongoing upkeep. Expect to spend $100-200 for regular cleanings to keep the panels in peak performance shape. Any damage or drops in power output might be covered by warranty, so be sure to check with your provider before paying for any maintenance.
Confused? Let us help! Australia offers Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) for renewable energy systems like solar panels. But this is not technically a rebate.
Instead, the STCs are allocated based on the region and output of the potential solar system. They can then be sold off. Almost all solar panel system installers will handle this process for you and, in exchange, pass along a discount or credit on the cost of the project.
Most of the time, this discount is already reflected in estimates, but be sure to confirm with any potential provider when determining how much do solar panels cost for your home.
By now, you know that this is not a straightforward answer. However, we put together a quick guide based on system size to help you start budgeting.
|System Size||Average Price|
This is a bit misleading, since solar panel systems are priced out based on energy needs rather than home size. For an average-size home of 186 square metres (or 2,000 square feet), a provider will install between 16-25 panels. This typically supports a 4-5kW system, so the price would be nearer to $3,600.
Part of this depends on how much they cost in the first place. The higher the price, or more elaborate the system, the longer it will take to recoup the expense.
Generally, it can take between 4-5 years for a solar panel system to pay for itself. In turn, this also means that the system has started to generate excess power, so homeowners can actually begin to profit, not just break even.
A typical 5kW system can create an average of $2,000 in savings each year. When you factor that against your house solar panels cost and ongoing electric utility bill, you can determine the timeframe for your own situation.
As a general rule, ask your provider to itemize everything. This way, there won’t be any surprises once the project is underway. Here are a few hidden costs that you should watch out for or ask about:
While different size solar power systems can appear to accommodate various budgets, it’s important to choose a system sized properly for your home and power needs. While the upfront expense can be daunting, solar panel system can pay for itself in a few years.
When choosing a solar panel system and provider, be sure to ask whether they are insured, what warranties are included, and whether STCs are factored into the estimate you are given. It’s also important to think ahead for your power goals. Just because a system is the right size (and more affordable) today doesn’t mean it will scale with increased power usage or solar battery charging in the future.
In the long term, homeowners can expect to make back their money on solar power panels costs. This efficient source of renewable energy can reduce your energy bills over time too, even paying you back through feed-in tariffs.
Solar panel installation is not a small project. Do your research with any provider you’re considering to make sure the people working on your home are certified, insured, and trustworthy.
The team at Formula Sun Solar is just that, and then some! We’re a Fremantle-based company dedicated to local, personalised service and have over 15 years of experience. All of our technicians are CEC licensed so you can have confidence in your solar power system.
To help you choose the right system for your home – at the right size and the right price – we offer free quotes based on your energy needs. Call us on 0491 288 808 to chat with one of our experts today!