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The cost of your new solar panels will, of course, depend on how big a solar system you want.
Under the old rebate scheme (pre 1 Jan 2013) most people plumped for a 1.5kW solar PV system. Why? Because the old rebate maxed out at 1.5kW. This made 1.5kW the best value size to go for back then, because there was a scheme called the "solar multiplier" that doubled the rebate on the first 1.5kW of any system.
But although the solar multiplier is no more, there is still a solar rebate to be had! The only difference between today's rebate and last years rebate is that the rebate per kW is the same for every kW you buy (up to 100kW).
The rebate fluctuates based on the value of things called STCs. The current STC price is about $30, which results in a rebate of approximately $900 per kW installed.
(Note: these prices are very approximate and assume quality components. To get an accurate pricing for your particular situation, I would advise getting 3 quotes from local installers)
Here's how the pricing works out for a 1.5kW system:
|Typical cost of an installed 1.5kW solar system:||$4,000|
|Cost to you for 1.5KW of solar power:||Approx $3,100|
Of course you may be keen to insulate yourself fully from rising electricity prices and generate all the power your household uses with solar panels. For the average Australian household this will mean that you will need a 4-5kW system costing approximately $8,000 - $12,000 after rebates.
However everyone’s situation is different, so when you get your 3 quotes, the solar power contractors can advise you exactly what you will need based on your energy consumption and location. And remember that it is almost always cheaper to take basic energy efficiency measures to reduce your electricity demand before you size your solar system.
The wide variation in pricing is mainly down to the quality of the hardware used. To use a car analogy (as most people are more familiar with car brands than solar power brands!) expect the lower price range to be "Hyundai/Kia" level brand and the upper price to be "BMW/Lexus" level brand. I'll leave you to decide if BMWs are worth paying more for than Hyundais!
As at February 2013
2kW : $4,000 - $6,000
3kW : $6,000 - $9,000
4kW : $8,000 - $9,000
5kW : $9,000 - $12,000
10kW: $20,000 - $30,000
I've also created a "no BS" solar payback calculator that lets you try out different finance options and see the overall solar savings and cash flows over the lifetime of your system.