Solar power costs and savings
The upfront cost of your solar PV system is affected by a number of different factors, including:
Government incentives and support schemes available.
Contractor installation costs.
Type and number of solar panels, which affect the output of your system in kilowatts (kW).
Type and size of inverter (the part of the system that converts the electrical output of your solar panels into AC electricity for use in your home or business)
Type of framing equipment and other system components
Height and accessibility of roof and whether it is tiled, metal or concrete
Any after-sales service agreements
As a very rough guide, the total cost of getting a home solar system up and running is between $2500 (for a small 1.5 kW system) and $11,500 (for a top-of-the-line 5 kW system).
The amount of money your household will save on power bills by going solar is affected by a number of factors, including:
Your energy consumption and the size of your solar power system – if you use more power than your system is capable of producing, your savings will be reduced. This can be avoided by choosing the right-sized system for your needs.
Your feed-in tariff – this is the amount your electricity retailer pays you for any excess power your solar panels generate.
Your usage patterns – solar panels can only generate electricity while the sun is shining. This means that households that use a lot of power during the day may attract greater savings than those that consume most of their power at night. However, you will still receive a feed-in tariff for any excess electricity you generate during the day.
Where you live – some areas of Australia receive a lot more sunlight than others, so a solar PV system in Brisbane will usually generate more power than one in Hobart.
Businesses have a couple of other things to take into account, including the tax implications of any revenue received from feed-in tariffs.
A feed-in-tariff is the amount your electricity retailer pays you for any electricity your solar PV system generates that you don’t use, and is instead fed back into the grid.
STCs are government incentives that help reduce the upfront cost of installing your solar PV system. The value of STCs your system receives differs depending on its size and location.
The solar resource is enormous. Just 18 days of sunshine on Earth contains the same amount of energy as is stored in all of the planet's reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas.
Learn more about the solar resource
Rooftop solar panels: Benefits, costs, and smart policies
Rooftop solar has never been more affordable for home owners, business owners, and their communities.
We can change sunlight directly to electricity using solar cells. Every day, light hits your roof’s solar panels with photons (particles of sunlight). The solar panel converts those photons into electrons of direct current (“DC”) electricity. The electrons flow out of the solar panel and into an inverter and other electrical safety devices. The inverter converts that “DC” power (commonly used in batteries) into alternating current or “AC” power. AC power is the kind of electrical that your television, computer, and toasters use when plugged into the wall outlet.
A net energy meter keeps track of the all the power your solar system produces. Any solar energy that you do not use simultaneous with production will go back into the electrical grid through the meter. At night or on cloudy days, when your system is not producing more than your building needs, you will consume electricity from the grid as normal. Your utility will bill you for the “net” consumption for any given billing period and provide you with a dollar credit for any excess during a given period. You can carry your bill credit forward for up to a year.
Solar electricity generation represents a clean alternative to electricity from fossil fuels, with no air and water pollution, no global warming pollution, no risks of electricity price spikes, and no threats to our public health.
The solar resource
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are based on a high-tech but remarkably simple technology that converts sunlight directly to electricity.
Learn more about how solar panels work