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Graph of the Day: Australian solar PV prices hit new lows

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A new market insights report from solar industry analysts Sunwiz has highlighted just how much the cost of installing solar has fallen in Australia over the past four years, hitting a new low this month averaging at $1.67/W.

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The series of charts, based on data from Solar Choice and compiled by Sunwiz’s Warwick Johnston, show that residential PV system prices fell considerably, and were lowest in Brisbane and Perth, where a 5kW system installed in December 2015 cost $5,998 and $5,600, respectively.

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The report also notes that Australia imports a huge 81 per cent of its solar panels from China, while 6 per cent came from Singapore, 4 per cent from Korea, 3 per cent from Taiwan and 2 per cent from Germany – a higher than usual percentage.

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  • ben

    if 81% of our cells come from China, and they use vast amounts of coal to produce their electricity for manufacturing, what is the carbon emissions intensity of those cells?

    • Doug Cutler

      The energy pay back for solar cells typically runs 2-4 years depending on the type and make of panel. After that its free energy from the sun for decades, obviously a huge net gain in clean energy.

    • john

      Sounds like the old story when solar was just getting a market which was:- “Solar panels will never pay for them selves in a million years.”

      Or the not so long ago one of the Ministers who honestly needs a little education in this said ” solar panels stop working when it gets hot ”

      The second has some slight amount of fact in as much that yes for every degree above 25c at standart test conditions they do deteriate and this is shown on the certificates as

      Temp Coefficient of PMPP (%/OC)

      The figures usually being in the -0.40% area or lower as the case may be.
      So to actually stop the temperature would have to be extremely hot in the 100c plus area clearly not going to happen.

      • ben

        My own solar panels produce 2 x as much as I can consume. I hope to get a battery soon.

    • Ian

      Wow, never thought of that! China uses lots of coal for electricity, solar panels are made in China, therefore solar panels are coal- intensive to make. Damn fine logic, Ben, you should become a ( liberal) politician!

      • ben

        @disqus_Iy2FgWJlXh:disqus I was actually posing a serious question, not projecting and being juvenile such as you are doing. @dougcutler:disqus answered my question in part in a serious manner.

        • Jonathan Prendergast

          I think solar panels are a environmentally positive investment no matter where they come from, but I agree, if you can get the same value for money from the likes of Germany, Korea or America, or from a solar company that uses America, it could be worth doing. It sends a good message too. It’s not only the use of coal in China but the lack of environmental stewardship in terms of pollution into rivers and direct emissions. Admittedly, this is not my area of expertise though.

    • ben

      Would we be better sourcing panels from countries with better manufacturing emissions standards, such as Germany?

      • Pedro

        I think that you would find that panels not made in China tend to be significantly more expensive with very little quality differentiation if you were comparing the best Germany could make with the best China can make. From my experience end customers for the most part are simply not willing to pay extra. The consolation I get is that China is rapidly decarbonizing and shutting down the worst of their coal fired plants.