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Published on July 28th, 2014 | by Guest Contributor

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Australia Solar PV Panel Prices Decrease By 50% In 2013

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July 28th, 2014 by  

Originally published on RenewEconomy.
By Sophie Vorrath.

Solar PV module prices in Australia were cut in half over the 2012-2013 period, falling from $1.50/Wp in 2012 to 0.75/Wp in 2013, according to the latest report from the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI).

The report, PV in Australia 2013, also notes that installed prices for small-scale rooftop solar systems dropped by just under 20 per cent – from an average of around $3 to around $2.50/Wp – in a year that saw the largest market for PV installations in Australia since 2009.Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 11.11.17 AM

“With PV having reached grid parity against retail electricity tariffs in many parts of Australia and government support reducing, the market is stabilising but remaining buoyant,” the report said.

APVI said that continued increases in grid electricity prices mean PV remained a cost-effective option for homeowners across Australia, even without subsidies, and was of increasing interest to the commercial sector.

The report noted that over 1 million Australian homes now had a solar PV system installed, with residential penetration levels averaging 15 per cent nationwide, and over 30 per cent in some areas.

According to the report, the majority of installations in 2013 took advantage of incentives under the federal government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme, with further drivers provided by grants and finance assistance from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Australia’s largest PV market remains for rooftop systems on private residences, although the average system size has increased steadily over the past three years (see figure 1, below).Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 11.11.31 AM

Commercial sector – grown more slowly than the residential sector to date – but interest in using PV to displace purchased power is increasing as electricity tariffs increase. Larger scale plants are being installed via the Australian Government Flagships program and the ACT Government’s Feed-In Tariff program.

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 11.07.59 AMThe report also notes an increase in customer interest in on-site storage, for which, while “not yet cost-effective for most customers,” it says a market is already developing.

“This trend could exacerbate issues faced by incumbent electricity sector businesses, even if it offers a means to manage supply intermittency and peak demand, since it would facilitate the installation of larger PV systems and may also see a trend to self-sufficiency, disconnection of customers from main grids and increased interest in mini-grids to service remote rural communities,” the report says.

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 11.07.28 AM

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  • tibi stibi

    thats great! i think in europe prices have been much more stable, probably because Chinese panels are fined because they are to cheap :(

  • Ronald Brakels

    Solar is now being installed in Australia for $2 US a watt before any subsidy and with a 5% discount rate, which is reasonable for many Australian home owners, will produce electricity at under 10 cents a kilowatt-hour. That’s less than a third of what most Australians pay for grid electricity.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Is that widely and openly discussed?

      What percentage of the population would you say understands how much they could save?

      • Ronald Brakels

        Well, almost a quarter of people who own roofs have solar, and the number is increasing all the time, so it is fairly well known. However, things aren’t quite as rosey as they seem with widespread theft of electricity occurring from feed in tariffs well below the value of electricity exported to the grid. Typical feed in tariffs for new solar now range from zero to six cents per kilowatt-hour. So for a person who is paying 27 cents a kilowatt-hour for grid electricity, which is not bad for Australia, and with a zero cent feed in tariff, 50% self consumption, and a 5% discount rate would produce electricity for about two-thirds of the cost of grid electricity. But even with extremely low feed in tariffs Australians can still earn a better average return than the stockmarket and that return is a lot more reliable.

        As for electricity theft, I’ll just say that while wholesale electricity prices during the daytime are decreasing, electricity produced right next door to where it’s needed during times of peak demand is considerably more valuable than electricity produce 100 kilometers away. And it is infinitely more valuable than zero cents per kilowatt-hour.

        • ToddFlach

          Hi Ronald, I flew to Australia from Europe recently and sat next to a builder of custom homes, an expat from Sweden who moved to Australia. I asked him about rooftop solar and his experience now is that EVERY NEW HOME built in his market installs PV on the roof as part of the original build, and rolls this cost into the home loan. The financing of this is very reasonable, the rate of return is very good and very low-risk. A “slam-dunk no-brainer”.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Yep, Installing solar PV is one of the most effective ways builders can meet building energy efficiency requirements. And once solar PV starts getting integrated into roofing products on a large scale the cost of constructing new buildings with solar should drop even further. The future is definitely sunny, despite all the steps backwards our current government is taking.

  • JamesWimberley

    How does solar perform in markets where government policy has turns neutral or hostile? Where it is truly neutral – as in Chile – it seems the answer is: quite well. Where solar never got started, as in the residential sector in Spain, a hostile government can smother the baby in its crib. Australia is an interesting third case, where a hostile federal and some state governments face off against a well-established industry with a persuasive financial proposition. I predict and hope solar will win this one.

    • Matt

      I think in Oz, you will see PV growth continue. And even see growth in the rate of growth as retail electric prices grow. Short of a massive zoning rules change.

    • Vensonata

      They can be hostile for a while but it is a first world country, eventually people wise up and vote the scoundrels out. It is an optimal climate for solar, if they weren’t up to their eyebrows in coal this solar revolution would have happened 5 years ago.

      • Chris Marshalk

        If only our Prime minister never lied his way into office. He really is a piece of shit.

        • Shiggity

          I hope they build out so much solar that they can start exporting electricity to surrounding countries. More than half the country gets a perfect sunshine rating.

    • Rob G

      With such a renewable hostile government in OZ and with storage technology becoming more price friendly, I think we’ll see a very aggressive take-up of roof top solar with storage. I have 20 panels already, but with prices so cheap I’ll get a few more plus some storage to free myself once and for all from the utility dictatorship.

      As Matt says the growth will explode with power prices climbing.

  • jiftuq bf

    go aussies

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