Think solar is expensive? Be glad you’re not American!

Our American friends may get dirt cheap Nike runners, Levis jeans and iTunes downloads compared to us Aussies, but at least we can get some comfort from the fact that our solar systems are a helluva lot cheaper than theirs!

This infographic from those nice people at US site does a great job of spruiking the benefits of solar power, but also gives an insight into just how cheap Aussie solar is.

A big part of the price discrepancy is that the permit system for solar power is a bureaucratic nightmare in America. If you buy a 3kW solar system in the US you could pay $12,000 for it, of which $3,000 is permit paperwork! Compare that to about $5,000 in Australia of which about $0 is permit paperwork. In most states in Oz your installer simply fills in a 2 minute form online and gets ‘permission to connect’ within a day or so.

Here;’s the lovely infographic in all its glory – just be aware that the prices only apply to the US!


solar power info graphic

Great Infographic on the joys of solar power. Just be aware that the prices are for the USA!

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.


  1. Finn,

    USA blog-reader here, with a comment on this article. I think there may be some exaggeration on the estimates of “fees” discussed in the graphic…My installer is just in the wrap-up stage of my ~10kW solar project, and we experienced none of the “permits and fees” expenses detailed in the infographic. Be advised, my install was in Texas-different states or localities WILL have less or more than our project. Texas is not as “regulation intense” of a location in the States as are some other areas…California or New York come to mind. Perhaps there, they might close in on some of the estimated costs, but elsewhere I’d expect an experience more like mine.

    Our only “expense” for fees, etc., was 50 bucks to pull a permit with the city I live in…and were I to live in an unincorporated area, I wouldn’t have even had that to pay. There are no fees to pay my local utility to tie-in…just a quick inspection by them to make sure all the work meets code, swap out meters and you are on your way. Texas is a somewhat “solar friendly” location as far as the local politics is concerned, as there is no sales/VAT tax on the equipment or install when sold, and the state does not tax the additional value added to your property by the array in the form or property taxes. Finally, we don’t get gouged on selling our excess power back-the utilities buy back at the same rate sold to us…Nice!

    The installed cost of my project on a per watt basis was $2.99. That price includes the entirety of the cost of the install..That’s using Canadian Solar panels and Enphase MI’s. After the federal tax credit of 30% is applied, the per watt cost will be under $2.10, which I think may be in line pricewise with a MI project you just did yourself in Oz?

    FYI, while doing the research for my project, I found your website a wealth of info and knowledge! It was very, very helpful in allowing me to sort through the options and come to the right decision with regards to selecting both the right equipment AND the right installer. Much obliged!

    Best Regards and Thanks from the Yanks,

    Rob S.
    Austin, Texas

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