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Solar4Ever Pricing Guide- 2018

Solar Panels (Inverters and Installation further down)

We talk to so many people who are overly concerned with getting a 'good' panel. This infers that there are 'bad' panels. Whilst sweat shops and hand soldering might have been true once, todays panels are all made by the same, probably German, robots and are indistinquishable from each other. You pay a little more for a very well known brand name, and a lot more for features that improve efficiency (more on efficiency in a moment) but overall, we replace an average of one solar panel a year, and every single one of them has been a panel originally installed years ago when manufacturing standards were much lower.

The table below shows a cost per panel after deducting the rebate.
All of the panels below are really excellent quality from global manufacturers and provide long warranties and yet there is a price difference from top to bottom of the table of $337 per panel. If we ignore the bottom three panels, the price spread is a more reasonable $72.

The rebate knocks off about $175 per panel ($150 for Victorian installations) which is why you can get a negative cost. The less well known brands use lower prices as a carrot, and some offer longer than standard warranties to further sweeten the deal, but the majority of the huge brands are identically priced. As the panel efficiency increases (more on that further down) the price rises quite sharply. Part of the reason for that higher cost is that the more efficient panels are all monocrystalline cells which cost more to make than polycrystalline.

It's very hard to make a cost justification for LG NeonR panels on a regular house. Spending $5,000 to $10,000 more on a system that will produce $100 worth of extra electricity a year makes cost recovery a very long game indeed. People buy LG because they can get more panel power on their roof... or because they like buying very nice things.

Brand Power

Price each after

STCs (rebate) *





Amerisolar 275W - ($8) 12 30
Eging 265W -($6) 10 25
Talesun 275W $7 10 25
GCL 270W $10 10 25
Canadian 330W (72 cell) $17 10 25
JA 270W $17 10 25
Seraphim 275W $19 10 25
Canadian 275W $22 10 25
Canadian 285W $22 10 25
Jinko 270W $22 10 25
Longi 290W $25 10 25
Longi 300W $35 10 25
Q.Cells 270W $35 12 25
Seraphim 280W (Black) $47 12 25
Trina 295W $52 10 25
Q.Cells 300W (Black) $64 12 25
SolarWatt 280W $140 12 25
LG Neon2 330W $175 12 25
LG NeonR 360W $329 25 25

* For Victoria add approx $25 per panel to the above panel prices due to a lower 'rebate'

Solar panel efficiency

With the exception of the physically larger 72 cell Canadian 330W panel (31cm longer) all of these panels are virtually the same size... namely 1.6M x 1M

Therefore the Eging 265W panel is the least efficient because it's maximum output from a panel this size is the lowest and the LG NeonR is the most efficient because it has the highest power output from the same size.

When you read a brochure for a panel and see terms like PERC and extra busbars, and dual cell, dual glass reflective etc, they ALL refer to features that they have used to improve efficiency...cramming more output into the same sized panel.

However if you have 6.6kW of Amerisolar (the cheapest in the list) and 22 x Q.Cells 300W, also making 6.6kW, or 6.6kW of absolutely anything else, they will, year in, year out, make the same power for you. We could nitpick that statement and say that this panel has a better performance in the heat or shade, but the difference in actual output wouldn't buy you a carton of beer at the end of 12 months operation.

The upper limit for a polycrystalline cell has always been 290W. Above that and the cells get too hot. Manufacturers that specialise in polycrystalline panels have been doing amazing engineering feats to try and squeeze an extra few watts out of a poly cell panel. REC for instance have split their 60 cells in half to make a 120 cell panel and 295W output, but whether they can go any higher remains to be seen. Much simpler though to use moncrystalline which is what all the 60 cell panels 300W and above use.

Panel Comparison

Shade, warranty, efficiency etc

We discuss it here in much more detail.

Solar Inverters

We stock Huawei, Fronius, SMA, SolarEdge, Growatt, Zeversolar, Delta, Goodwe, and Sungrow.

(Click blue name links above to read full specs, review, datasheets, pricing)

Some of them have genuinely battery ready models in their range (hybrids) but all of them, one way or another, using additional interfaces, can have batteries connected. The issue about connecting batteries is all about cost, and we don't mean the cost of the battery, we mean the cost of the interface needed for battery connection BEFORE you then go and buy the battery.

At the lower end of the cost range you get a 5 year factory warranty and it generally costs $100 - $170 to extend that to 10 years. All have WIFI reporting as an optional extra except Delta who don't do it, ranging from free with Goodwe up to $165 for Zeversolar.
How much life you'll get after the five year warranty is anyone's guess, but our electronics guy Roque who fixes up failed inverters, says the relays inside are very good these days and bad relays were the principle cause of failure on Gen 1 and Gen 2 Chinese inverters.

3kVA inverters at this end of the inverter spectrum cost betwen $880 and $1110, and $1070 to $1500 for a 5kVA single phase model. Adding batteries means connecting another box, currently mostly made by Goodwe and SMA costing a minimum $1, 720 including installation.

At the higher end, where you get at least a 10 year factory warranty and WIFI as standard, you have Fronius, SMA, SolarEdge and Huawei (more on Huawei in a moment as they fall into the Hybrid category). These range in cost between $1750 and $2090 for a 5kVA single phase model. Whilst it is simple maths to work out that buying a cheaper brand, and paying the extra for a factory 10 year warranty and WIFI to level the playing field with these more expensive brands, will still work out a cheaper, there is no doubt these products have far more quality and class in every way.

However, apart from Huawei, you'll still have to buy a battery interface, same as with the cheaper brands.

Hybrid inverters (Regular inverter + Battery interface built in)

Hybrid inverters have the battery interface built in, therefore saving you $1,720 when it becomes time to connect batteries. They are also a much neater solution, being contained in one small box. Delta, Goodwe and Sungrow all have pretty good hybrids with 5kW single phase models costing between $1970 and $2640, but Huawei have just arrived with a range of exceptionally good hybrids with a price range of $1308 for the 2kVA up to $1750 for the 5kVA. They also threw in a 10 year warranty that will cost about $500 with the other hybrids, so as far as we are concerned, game over. Huawei have won that category hands down.

Three phase

Most of Australia's energy companies allow you to connect a 5kW single phase inverter to a 3 phase home.

In WA this used to be allowed too, but since 2012, only 3kW single phase inverters are allowed on 3 phase. After that you must either buy 2 x single phase inverters (3+2 or 2 x 2.5) or a three phase inverter.

Growatt and Goodwe are the only lower cost three phase inverters costing $1520 and $1720 respectively, and at the higher end Fronius Symo ($2205) and SMA Tripower ($2,360)

If you wanted the cheapest 5kVA inverter solution then a 3+2 single phase Growatt combo would set up back just $1295 and the only hybrid solutions would be Huawei (also 3+2) at $2540 or the single MPPT Symo Hybrid by Fronius at $3,590.

For those who scratch their heads trying to figure out how single phase inverters can be used successfully on 3 phase, please read this FAQ.

Power Optimisers

The main role of these little boxes connected to the back of a solar panel is to stop the lower current produced by a shaded panel from bringing down the much higher current of the rest of the string of up to 13 other panels it is connected to. They are very effective, but if you had to put one on every panel, and you had a 24 panel system it would add $2000 to the cost of your solar. Fortunately, Huawei and Tigo optimisers at $80 each, need only be added to the panels that are shaded affected, not all of them. SolarEdge and Enphase (who use a different tech called a micro inverter but the idea is exactly the same for shade busting) require you to put optimisers on every panel, shaded or not.

Installation prices

$100 - $115 per panel is what most installations work out at.

A standard single phase 24 panel install across two roof orientations will cost $2400. That includes $700 of rail and roof fixings and $800 of electrical (Earth, DC, and AC cables, breakers, isolators, solar conduit etc). It's easy to bring these component costs down by hundreds of dollars with cheaper imported cable and components that still meet Australian standards, and employ backpackers to do the roofwork but it's not a good idea. Save money on your panels...they are all the same really, not your install quality.

The more complex the job, the higher the cost.
Tile roofs cost $5 a panel more than tin
3 phase adds $200
Second inverter $200
Battery interface to non hybrid system $300
Smart meter installation $150
Double storey sections $300
Taking down an old system, $15 a panel
Additional roof sections beyond the two normally allowed for add a bit


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Solar Battery Storage systems
Price on application!

Li-Ion Batteries
Tesla Powerwall and Powerwall 2
LG Chem

SMA Sunny Boy Storage
Enphase B270 - 1200