Australian Solar Systems Interest Index – February 2021

auSSII solar report - February 2021

The start of 2021 saw many Australians hit the ground running in getting ready to install an energy bill busting solar power system.

Solar Power System Capacity

In terms of solar power system size, 83% of Australians using the SolarQuotes service in January who had a capacity in mind were interested in pricing on 6kW systems or larger. Given the cost of installing solar in Australia nowadays, the best system size is pretty much down to a buyer’s budget, what their rooftop can properly fit, and the system size their DNSP (Distributed Network Service Provider) allows.

Solar system capacity choice in January 2021

Purchase Decision Timeframe

Around 23% of potential PV buyers were keen on installing panels straight away – well down on December’s 30.8% and November’s 28%. Towards the end of the year people tend to be a bit more eager as Australia’s “solar rebate” is gradually being phased out, with reductions occurring at the start of each year. But the subsidy is still very generous in 2021 and system cost per watt is continuing its downward trend.

While the appetite for an immediate purchase may have been less in January, 97% were planning on a system purchase anytime from now to within the next 3 months.

PV system purchase intent for January 2021.

Price Vs. Quality

Not much changed here between December and January – just shy of 12% were wanting a quote on a “top quality” (most expensive) solar package, which has been fairly static over recent months. 80% were wanting details on a system offering a good balance of quality and cost, while interest in good quality budget systems was around 8%.

Solar price and quality in January 2021

Optional Consumption Monitoring

Interest in advanced energy consumption monitoring picked up a little in January to just under 41%. After reaching as high as 69% in July last year, interest had been dropping off to as low as 39% in December. While optional consumption monitoring will add a few hundred dollars to system cost, it’s a valuable feature well worth considering.

Advanced solar monitoring interest in January 2021

Microinverter/Power Optimiser Option

There was a tad more interest in microinverters or power optimisers in January; just over 12%. Both devices are a type of Panel Level Optimisation (PLO), which while adding to system cost can be particularly beneficial in some installation scenarios. You can learn more about Panel Level Optimisation here. On a related note, last week we learned SunPower Maxeon 5 AC solar panels are now available in Australia – these are panels that have a factory integrated microinverter.

Microinverters and panel optimisers - January 2021.

“Battery-Ready” Solar Systems

Interest in battery-ready systems was again around 5% last month. Solar batteries can be added to any PV system post-installation, but indicating energy storage may be desirable at a later date can assist in the system design phase.

Battery ready solar - January 2021

Concurrent Solar Panel + Battery Installation

Interest in having a battery installed at the same time as solar system picked up in January to close to 15%, compared with just over 13% in December and a little under 13% in November, October and September. Looking back to January last year, it was just 6%.

If you’re trying to determine if a battery makes financial sense in your situation, SQ’s solar and battery calculator is a very useful tool that will show you how savings are impacted by a battery system and solar panels separately.

Concurrent solar + battery storage installation - January 2021

Battery Storage Capacity

Where a battery capacity (size) choice was noted in a request for a quote on a concurrent solar + battery installation:

1 – 5 kWh: ~16% (December ~14%, November ~16%)
5 – 10 kWh: ~51% (December ~51%, November ~54%)
10 kWh +:  ~33% (December ~36%, November ~31%)

Indicating there is still a great deal of uncertainty regarding energy storage sizing, 56% of quote requests in January where concurrent battery storage was involved wanted advice on this aspect (53% in December and 55% in November).

Battery storage capacity selection - January 2021

Intended Battery Application

Approximately 6% indicated a battery would primarily be used for backup, ~42 % for minimising mains grid electricity consumption and 52% for both applications.

Primary battery application - January 2021

Electricity Bills Pre- Solar Panels

Where electricity bill amounts were known prior to a solar panel installation, close to 48% of Australians using the SQ service were paying between $500 and $1,000 per quarter on average (47% in December and 49% in November). Approximately 11% were forking out more than $1,000 a quarter (9% in December, 11% in November). 8% weren’t sure what they were paying.

Mains electricity bills before solar - January 2021.

About The auSSII

Thousands of Australians used the SQ quoting service each month. SolarQuotes has assisted more than half a million Australians obtain quotes from carefully pre-vetted installers since the service launched in 2008. Founder Finn Peacock puts installers through the wringer so you don’t have to.

SolarQuotes Sales Leads

Solar installation businesses large and small with a solid commitment to quality are invited to learn more about sourcing quality sales leads from SolarQuotes.

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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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