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Solar power payback calculator

We’ve made it easy for you to work out if installing solar panels is the right choice for your home in the midst of an energy crisis.

How fast you can pay back the cost of installing solar panels will depend on the size of your solar system, feed-in tariffs and how much you're currently paying towards your energy bill.

On average, it can take between 4 to 6 years to recover costs. However, with energy prices predicted to go up by 50% over the next 2 years, your payback period could likely shorten.

Calculate your solar payback period

Not keen on rough numbers? You can add in your details in the solar power payback calculator for a more precise estimate.

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How do I calculate the payback period for solar panels?

You can use the solar payback calculator to estimate how soon you'll get your money's worth.

There are some aspects that go into calculating your payback period such as:

  • The cost of energy you pay per kilowatt (kWh)
  • The size of the solar system you wish to purchase
  • The amount of energy your solar system is capable of producing
  • The overall cost of your solar system
  • How much solar energy will be consumed by your household and how much of it will be sent back to the grid
  • The feed-in tariff rate received from your chosen energy provider

Finder survey: How many years does it take for Australians to recover the cost of installing solar?

Response
525.44%
1013.24%
010.45%
49.41%
28.71%
38.71%
85.57%
65.23%
14.18%
72.79%
152.09%
201.74%
121.39%
140.35%
250.35%
90.35%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1145 Australians, December 2023

How much money can I save by installing solar panels?

Your savings from installing solar panels will vary depending on:

  • Your energy consumption and usage patterns
  • The size of your solar system
  • Your feed-in tariff rate
  • Where you live. For example, southern Queensland is better for homes with solar than southern Tasmania

As a general rule of thumb, you could save $400 per year per kW by installing solar. If you install a 6kW solar system, you could be looking at $2,400 in savings each year.

However, it's best to calculate saving estimates based on your household and a solar payback calculator can help you do just that.

How long will it take to pay back my solar system?

It can take between 4 and 8 years on average to pay back the cost of your solar system.

There's reports that solar payback periods could go down with energy prices predicted to go up in the next 2 years. We spoke with an expert to discuss these claims.

Although electricity prices are forecast to increase significantly between now and 2024, this will have a limited impact on rooftop solar payback periods as strong global demand will put continuous upwards pressure on solar pricing and increasing solar in the grid will push down feed-in-tariffs. In the best case, consumers might be able to expect that payback periods will stay the same or reduce slightly. Keep in mind, solar panel manufacturers continue to warn that demand in the US and Europe will see prices increase in Australia.

What is the total price of a solar system?

A normal sized 6kW Solar PV System can cost between $4,000 and $6,000 in most states in Australia and a 10kW system can cost between $7,500 and $10,500.

What is the average cost of solar panels in my state?

Here's a city specific breakdown of total retail prices of a solar system. This will help you with solar panel estimates for your state.

Costs include both the up-front incentive available for small-scale systems (STC discount) and GST.

3kW4kW5kW6kW7kW10kW
Adelaide, SA$3,350$3,870$4,540$4,890$5,870$8,990
Brisbane, QLD$4,190$4,790$5,660$6,100$7,390$10,400
Canberra, ACT$4,410$4,850$5,650$6,460$7,540$10,340
Darwin, NT$5,800$7,710$8,920$10,170$11,250$14,420
Hobart, TAS$5,020$5,650$6,620$7,560$8,570$12,390
Melbourne, VIC$4,200$4,450$5,010$5,510$6,470$8,750
Sydney, NSW$3,940$4,430$5,050$5,530$6,610$9,050
Perth, WA$3,400$3,730$4,860$5,830$6,240$10,310
All$4,290$4,940$5,790$6,510$7,490$10,580

Credit: Solar Choice (May 2023)

How do I know how many solar panels I will need?

The key factor in determining how many solar panels you'll need is to figure out your electricity consumption.

The easiest way to check this is to look at past bills over 12 months, taking into account seasonal variations in power usage.

Most households in Australia will consume around a maximum of 24kWh of electricity per day.

A 5kW solar system consists of 15 to 20 panels and can produce 20kWh of power daily. That should be sufficient to run your home efficiently.

Am I eligible for a solar rebate?

Most states across Australia will offer some sort of solar rebate or concession.

Navigate our state-specific guides to see if any are available to you.

Is installing a solar system a good investment for my home?

If the upfront cost of installing solar won't put a burden on your finances then yes, going solar will benefit your budget in the long run.

This is keeping in mind the rising cost of energy bills in Australia as well as on a global scale.

Plus, you'll be doing your part to help the environment too. After all, energy efficient homes are all the rage these days.

  • Good to know: Just make sure you go through a Clean Energy approved solar retailer so that you receive detailed information on the installation process, any rebates you might be eligible for and most importantly, a good quality solar system.

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Editor I Tech and utilities expert

Mariam Gabaji is an editor and tech and utilities expert at Finder with 12+ years of experience as a journalist. Her goal is to help households cut through the industry jargon and save money on their household bills. Her expertise is often featured in media including the ABC, Yahoo Finance, 9News, 7News, A Current Affair, The Guardian, SBS and Money Magazine. See full bio

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Mariam has written 246 Finder guides across topics including:
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