What is the cost of solar power in NZ in 2020?
During the last decade, the price of solar power has plummeted in NZ. In 2009, a 3kw system was around $40k installed including GST, and in 2020 it would be more like $9,500. For most families, solar became a cheaper source of power than grid energy in about 2011.
At the same time, there have been significant technical improvements both in solar panel and inverter design. So panels these days last longer, have better efficiencies and warranties and the same goes for inverters too.
Pricing is a complicated matter and it always needs a site visit and discussion with clients to do it professionally.
There are many different sizes of solar system, ranging from 2kw up to 10kw or more, but always in proportion to power consumption. There are quite a few criteria to take into account when giving a quote, and one quote is not the same as any other; but to give some rough idea of grid tied systems with price ranges, have a look at the following:
2kw: $7,800- $9,700
3kw: $9,300- $11,500
5kw : $13,200 - $15,700
10kw: $23,400 - $26,600
To make some judgements on what is best money for value; firstly there is the quality of the equipment itself. Top of the range double glass panels from a reputable manufacturer are a higher quality than cheaper plastic backed panels with a no name brand even if the wattage is the same.
There are also differences in the way these panels act in various conditions. So for example, if they have PERC technology or not could be a really big thing in dark winter weather or early morings and evenings, perhaps up to 30% difference. Another factor is if they are using split cell technology or not, as the number of connections within the panel has a bearing on how efficient it will be.
Then, there are the questions about what happens if the panel is put under stress like from a freakish hail storm, fire, earthquake or heavy snow load.
Then of course, there is the maintenance. Anything with a frame is going to have to cleaned much more frequently.
Regarding inverters, warranty is everything and the warranty is only as good as the track record of the manufacturer honoring warranties. Generally German or Australian warranties are considered highly reliable. Whether the inverter is three phase or single phase is likely going to be a price difference of up to $1500.
The installation can have a big bearing on price. Scaffolding costs a fortune but is necessary for steep roofs and double story houses. Next, if you have tiles, coloursteel, decro or membrane roofing will impact the type of fixings to use and and how quickly the work can be done.
If there is some distance between panels and distribution board then this might mean conduit either internal or external, maybe with some wall drilling. If there is not a lot of ceiling space then iron may have to pulled up to get cables underneat.
Speed of install is only good when it is done accurately and installation teams vary a lot in how long they take and how accurate they are up to a factor or 2 or 3 times. Some solar companies pay their installers little, encouraging them to rush and cut a few corners. Generally if the price looks too low and out of range of what is described above, then something might not be right.
Another aspect is travel if the site is in a far off location…
So, above are solar quotes for grid tied systems. If you want a battery then that is called a hybrid and that will cost a lot more. You will need a more elaborate hybrid inverter and then battery storage and then more panels to charge the batteries in winter. There are small battery systems around but they are rarely adequate, realistically 10-14kw of storage is where to begin and all up this could add about $15k to grid tied pricing.
Off grid solar costing is much more involved. A generator backup is compulsory. For about $19,500 you can get something that will power a batch and run a fridge, lights, kitchen equipment and a TV. There are cheaper caravan based versions of these around and they never work right. Ask your solar assessor to do a power audit and you will soon see why. Big off grids for large houses can be anyhing from $55-$100k; again this is very customised work.
To get a clear quote for solar for your own home please contact Green Spark Solar.