February 2023 Australian Solar Systems Interest Index

SolarQuotes auSSII report - February 2023

With another year of high electricity costs ahead, interest from Australians during January in going solar remained strong. Discover what they were wanting.

Solar Power System Size Selection

Solar power systems in the 5-10 kW capacity range remained the clear favourite in January among solar shoppers (74%) when selecting a choice between 3-5 kW, 5-10 kW, 10-15 kW, 15-20 kW, 20+ kW capacities and “Fill Roof” options. While this was lower than in November and December last year (77%); there was increased interest in larger sizes. As for systems between 3 – 5 kW, just 3% selected this option (same as December).

Around 14% were keen to fill their rooftop with solar panels in January, up from approximately 12% in December.

Solar system capacity choice - January 2023 results

So, how big a system should you get for your home? Check out SQ Founder Finn’s advice on solar power system sizing.

Intended PV Purchasing Timeframe

Eagerness for buying a solar power system right away eased off in January – a little under 23% compared to 27% in December and November. The rush to install solar panels late last year was due in part to the looming rebate reduction on January 1 – but don’t worry, Australia’s solar rebate is still very generous in 2023.

Timeframe for buying a solar power system - January 2023 results

29% of those using the SolarQuotes service in January indicated they were considering a system purchase within the next 4 weeks, and 48% within the next 3 months.

Price Vs. Quality

Again in January, just over 11% of solar shoppers were after a high-end (most expensive) system, 81% a system offering a balance of quality and price, and 8% a good budget system.

System price vs. quality graph  - January 2023 results

To get an idea of general pricing ranges for quality systems, head on over to SQ’s solar panel costs page. Or you can take a deep-dive into what Australians have been paying very recently and over the past couple of years for systems using the Solar Price Index tool.

Cash And Finance Options

Little changed here between December/November and January, with just over 9% of prospective buyers indicating they wanted finance. Just under 41% were cash-only buyers and 50% wanted to see options for both.

Cash or finance solar purchase  - January 2023 results

Finance can be a good way to get a system installed if you don’t have cash available for the up-front purchase. But ensure you thoroughly research solar finance options before signing on the dotted line, and this includes so-called “0% interest” Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) arrangements.

Panel Level Optimisation

PLO devices – aka Module Level Power Electronics (MLPE) – attach to or are mounted beneath the rear of a solar panel and include microinverters and optimisers. In the case of microinverters, they replace the more conventional arrangement of a single string inverter, and optimisers are in addition to it. Among the benefits of both are panel level monitoring and increased flexibility in system design; particularly for homes with multiple roof faces in different orientations.

Microinverter and optimisers - January 2023 results

During January, approximately 15% of quote enquiries indicated interest in Panel Level Optimisation – down on December’s ~17%.

Advanced (Consumption) Monitoring Option

While usually provided as an optional extra with a solar system and will add a few hundred extra dollars to the cost, consumption monitoring is well worth having as it will show you how much energy is being used in your home and when, instead of just how much the system is generating. This can help with maximising solar energy self-consumption, which is the name of the game these days. Advanced monitoring also provides other really valuable and interesting information.

In January 2023, a little over 36% of quote requests wanted more details on this feature, up from December’s 34%.

Advanced solar monitoring - January 2023

Battery Ready Solar Systems

Around 5% indicated a preference for a battery-ready system last month; same as the last couple of months.

But what if all these buyers decide they want to install a home battery at a later date? The good news is AC coupling means battery storage can be retrofitted to just about any solar power system that has ever been installed. But giving a prospective installer a heads-up energy storage is on the cards can help with solar system design.

Battery ready systems graph - January 2023 results

Concurrent Solar + Battery Installation

Interest in having a battery installed at the same time as solar panels dropped in January to 18% compared to 22% in December.

Solar power and battery system installation - January 2023 results

The level of interest during January in a concurrent battery installation was the lowest for quite some time. Why there was such a significant drop isn’t clear – but a solar battery is a big investment, times are getting tighter for many and the addition of a battery pushes out payback time. However, increased mains electricity costs and lower feed-in tariffs shorten battery payback.

Learn everything you need to know about understanding, buying and owning a home battery.

Intended Main Battery Application

The main reason noted in January for buying a battery were:

  • Backup: 5% (7% in December)
  • Minimising grid electricity use: 38% (33%)
  • Both purposes: 57% (60%)

Intended main battery use - January 2023 results

Electricity Bills Before Solar Installation

Where electricity bill costs pre-solar panels were provided, 47% reported paying $500 to $1,000 a quarter on average, same as December. Just over 12% were paying more than $1,000 a quarter (~11% in December). Around 1.5% were paying more than $2000 a quarter – ouch!

Electricity bills before solar panels - January 2023 results

So, what’s ahead for electricity prices in 2023? While there has been some significant easing in wholesale electricity costs and the Albanese Government recently claimed households should expect to pay $230 annually less in 2023-24, that reduction is based on what would have happened without its Energy Price Relief Plan in place.

Add to that the cost of gas leading many Australian households to think about ditching gas altogether in favour of electrification, and solar will remain a slam-dunk investment. If you’re interested in finding out how much installing panels could save you, check out SQ’s popular solar (and battery) calculator.

About February 2023’s auSSII

As is the case each month, thousands of Australians requested quotes from SolarQuotes’ network of pre-vetted installers in January 2023. The auSSII is based on details they provided.

Australian Solar Buyers Looking For Great Installers

Does your solar business have a super-strong focus on quality in all aspects of its operations? SolarQuotes can connect you to eager Australian solar buyers. Find out how here.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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