Adelaide, SA is a great place for solar power – and did you know that 30-40% of homes in the Adelaide area have solar panels installed on their roofs? With the cost of solar power at historic lows and electricity rates higher than ever, more and more Adelaide homes and businesses are making the move to solar. This article outlines the basics of what you need to know about going solar in Adelaide (and also touches on battery storage).
1. High sunlight yields in Adelaide
Finding the best deal on solar PV in Adelaide, (or anywhere in Australia), requires understanding what a solar PV system potentially offers its owner. Solar panels produce electricity only when the sun is shining, and how much electricity is generated depends on the intensity and duration of the sunshine.
The table below provides an overview of how much energy you can expect some common residential solar system sizes to generate, assuming that they are north-facing and about 75% efficient (a conservative number). Please note that these numbers are averages – actual energy yields will be higher in summer and lower in winter.
|Estimated Solar PV system energy yields in Adelaide
(Popular system sizes, facing due north at 30 degree tilt)
|Solar system size (kilowatts)
||Avg daily system output (kilowatt-hours)|
*Note: Solar systems over 5kW (inverter capacity) may only be installed if your home is on a dual-phase or 3-phase grid connection, according to rules brought in by SA Power Networks from the end of 2017.
What do these energy output numbers mean for my home? (and how much solar do I need?)
The numbers in the table above show you how much energy your solar system is likely to produce, but to work out how much you’ll save with a system you need to estimate how much of the solar energy you’re likely to consume directly as opposed to ‘exporting’ into the grid.
These days, solar panels are quite affordable across Australia, which means that sizing a solar system for your home is not an exact science. Instead, it comes down to how much roof space you have available, what your budget for a system is, and how much SA Power Networks will allow you to install (currently 5kW of total inverter capacity per phase, or up to 15kW if you’re on a 3-phase connection). We encourage you to play with the numbers yourself using our Solar System Payback & ROI Estimator tool.
We also note that these days 5kW is the most popular system size in the country, thanks to the fact that they tend to offer the best value for money while not being too hard on the bank account balance.
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2. Incentives for solar power in Adelaide
Up-front ‘discounts’ on system installation prices through the federal Renewable Energy Target
The federal government offers up-front incentives in the form of ‘small-scale technology certificates’ (STCs). STCs significantly reduce the cost of having a solar PV system installed – typically by around 30% of the total system cost. This incentive should be automatically applied to the price of your system by your installer – you won’t have to take any action yourself to claim it.
The City of Adelaide’s rebates for solar PV & energy storage
The City of Adelaide offers a generous rebate for solar PV and battery storage systems installed in the 5000 and 5006 post codes and which meet certain eligibility criteria. You can read more about this scheme here: The City of Adelaide’s Sustainability Incentive Scheme. South Australia also has one of the countries most attractive battery incentive schemes offering up to $6,000 to eligible customers.
Feed-in tariffs in South Australia
The rate you are paid for your excess solar energy is generally referred to as a ‘feed-in tariff’. At present in South Australia, the rate you are paid depends on your electricity retailer and the plan you are on – you can visit EnergyMadeEasy.gov.au or WattEver.com.au to compare current offerings.
Remember that these days solar households maximise their solar savings by consuming solar power as it is generated. By doing so, they avoid purchasing electricity from the grid in the first place – effectively making each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar power worth as much as each kWh of power purchased from the grid.
3. Competitive solar PV system prices
As mentioned above, Australian solar system installation prices are among the lowest in the world – we know because we’ve been keeping track for a few years now with our monthly Solar PV Price Index. The price of solar has declined significantly over recent years as production scale in Asia has increased dramatically. We are now seeing a competitive environment for installs in Australia keeping margins slim.
You will see in the below graph showing the history of solar prices in Australia, published monthly by Solar Choice. Adelaide pricing, in orange, has tracked closely to the national average, with spikes triggered by state incentive schemes and other announcements.
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4. Solar PV systems in Adelaide are a great investment
As the table below illustrates, payback times for solar systems in Adelaide can be quite short and savings quite large. Keep in mind that the results in the table are based on average Adelaide prices as of March 2019 – lower system prices will yield even better results.
We just urge that you make sure that the system you’re purchasing uses quality components and is installed by a reputable installer. Lower prices don’t always indicate lower quality, but they should be approached with a healthy degree of caution – remember that a solar system should last up to 25 years (with inverter replacements every 7-10 years). Any system downtime will reduce savings and extend the payback period – not to mention costs incurred for any repairs not covered by the system’s warranty.
Indicative returns for solar systems @ average Adelaide prices
~Last updated March 2019~
|@ 30% self-consumption||@ 50% self-consumption||@ 20% self-consumption||40% self-consumption|
|~3.8 year payback||~3.2 year payback||~3.4 year payback||~2.7 year payback|
|~26% IRR||~32% IRR||~30% IRR||~38% IRR|
|~$1,042 annual savings||~$1,243 annual savings||~$1,718 annual savings||~$2,087 annual savings|
*(Assuming 75% system efficiency, 25kWh electricity consumption/day, retail electricity @ 34c/kWh, solar feed-in rate @ 8c/kWh)
What about home battery storage in Adelaide?
More and more households are looking into battery storage to accompany their solar panels. According to our own analysis from April 2019, Adelaide is currently the Australian capital city with the best conditions for battery storage due to a number of factors – mainly a combination of high electricity prices and affordable solar power systems. Read more about battery storage in Adelaide here, or click the image below to see our current ranking of Australian cities for battery-friendliness.
Finding the best solar deals in Adelaide
Our free & impartial Solar & Battery Quote Comparisons contain product, pricing & warranty information from a range of installers in each of Australia’s capital cities – including Adelaide. To get your Quote Comparison, simply fill out the form on this page or click on the button below.
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Since 2008 our knowledge and sophisticated software has allowed over 160,000 Australian households and businesses to make a well-informed choice on their solar & battery installer.
© 2019 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
(Top image: Doug Barber, image via Wikipedia)