Stable Pricing Q4 2013 For Brisbane Solar Installation
The prices on offer as of 4 November 2013 for installed solar systems in Brisbane are little changed from Q2 2013. This is somewhat surprising given the Australian dollar is now trading at US$0.95, significantly lower than earlier in the year.
Determinants Of Solar System Pricing
The factors determining the price of solar systems include:
- Quality of Solar Panels. Obviously Japanese manufactured panels like Kyocera are significantly more expensive than an ‘unbranded’ Chinese solar panel. This is not to say Chinese solar panels do not offer ‘value’ as many of the ‘reputable’, tried and tested Chinese solar panels like Suntech, E.T. Solar and the likes have an excellent track record of reliability in Australian solar installations and have specifications (in terms of efficiency and build quality) on a par with ‘high end’ panels. The lowest cost polycrystalline panels out of China are currently selling, in volume, for less than A$0.55 per watt.
- Solar Inverter Quality. There is considerable difference in pricing of high end inverters like SMA versus some of the low cost Chinese inveters. Chinese inverter prices at a wholesale level can be below A$350 for a 1.5 kwatt inverter, A$600 for a 3.0 kwatt inverter and A$890 for a 5.0 kwatt inverter
- Installation costs. Some Brisbane solar companies employ in-house C.E.C. accredited installers, whilst others sub contract the assembly.
- State of the market. The Brisbane solar installation market is extremely quiet currently as a result of the low Qld. feed in tariff. Solar companies need to be competitive, whilst also being able to demonstrate their ‘solar credentials’ in terms of them having a decent track record of reliable solar installations and support for the installations and products.
November 2013 Price Ranges
We have seen the standard 1.5 Kwatt, 3.0 Kwatt and 5.0 Kwatt systems being offered in Brisbane in the following price bands.
1.5 Kwatt $1600 to $3200
3.0 Kwatt $3800 to $5500
5.0 Kwatt $5250 to $9990
Obviously the prices for systems using the highest quality Japanese and European panels and inverters can be significantly higher than these prices.
Price Is Not The Last Word
Just as we would do our research when looking to buy a new car, and not buy solely on price alone, we strongly recommend not purchasing a solar system based on pricing alone. You need to consider carefully the reputation of the companies quoting solar systems, their ability to provide long term support and back-up for the solar panels and inverter as well as the actual installation itself. Having to replace faulty solar panels in 2 or 3 years time could prove to be an expensive operation so a bias towards reputable brands and experienced solar installers may well pay dividends in the long term.