The cost of installing rooftop solar in has marked its first annual increase in almost a decade in Australia, as inflation and supply chain pressures make their mark.
Annual data from solar analysts SunWiz shows that PV system prices rose in 2022 for the first time since the solar industry reached maturity, with average (GST-inclusive, post-subsidy) prices jumping by around 10 per cent to $1.09/W (residential) and $1.06/W (commercial).
SunWiz managing director Warwick Johnston says this jump in prices – which accompanied the first annual contraction in growth in the rooftop solar market in seven years, also in 2022 – is largely due to increases in equipment costs, which in turn have been driven up by the exchange rate.
The 10 per cent jump in the median cost of installing solar in Australia compares to a 7.8% jump in overall annual inflation and a 8.6% jump in the cost of electricity in the year to December.
And according to SunWiz, rooftop solar system costs vary quite markedly from one part of the nation to another.
As the chart below shows, the Northern Territory is the dearest place to buy PV, while Western Australia is the
cheapest. Victoria, with its ongoing state rooftop solar rebate sits somewhere in the middle.
The takeaway? Don’t let it put you off. Installation prices can fluctuate from month to month and, even factoring in the year-on-year rise in the average cost, rooftop solar remains an excellent investment for Australian households wanting to rein in their cost of living.
It’s worth remembering that as recently as May of last year, an IRENA report named Australian residential solar systems as offering some of the lowest costs in the world, thanks to a 58% drop in the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) for rooftop PV between 2010 and 2020.
IRENA’s data also showed that between 2013 and 2020m total installed costs (prior to subsidy) fell by 67 per cent in 2020 US dollar terms for residential systems in Australia.
According to 2021 data from the Australian Energy Council, the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) from panels on the roof also comes in significantly below electricity from the grid – usually somewhere around one-half or one-third of the kWh price.
And with gas prices hitting new highs for households, switching to all-electric appliances with rooftop solar in the mix is an even better guaranteed saving.