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Don’t Fall For The ‘Cheap Solar Panel Deals’ – Especially For A 6kW Solar System

The most common system sizing type in Australia, 6kW (followed closely by a 6.6kW system) is a great mid-sized solar system that can help reduce your power bills. However, you must be careful not to fall for the ”cheap” solar deals as with solar, you typically get what you pay for – perhaps more so than anything else you will buy for your home.

6kW solar panel system installation in Sydney

The Price of a 6.6kW Solar System

A premium 6.6kW solar power system is currently only $5,390 fully installed (finance is also available). This system includes high-performance 440W solar panels and a standard installation (ie. no cherry pickers etc.).

A 6.6kW SolarEdge system starts at $6,590 fully installed, while an Enphase system starts at $7,790, fully installed.

It is possible to find a very cheap 6kW solar system for under $4,500, however, this will typically require buying low to mid-range panels manufactured in China, and often without any after-sales support.

It is then an entirely different matter to start looking at systems under the $3,500 mark.

For a larger residential solar system, it is important to maximise reliability, output and of course longevity, so spending a little more upfront can save you a lot of money over the life of the system.

But it’s not just about the savings.

1KOMMA5° solar systems include full-service warranties and full technical support. This gives our customers the peace of mind that if something goes wrong you will be looked after.

As a rough guide, a 6.6kW solar system can save you up to and over $2,000 a year on your power bills. Of course, to save $500-$600 on a quarterly bill you are going to need to use a lot of power during the daytime – as much as 30 kWh during the daytime over the summer. Otherwise, installing battery storage can help you store excess solar power to use in the evening. If you are able to get the most out of your 6kW system, you could spend $9,290, get a top-of-the-range system, and see a return on your investment in around 6 years.

The Price of a 6.6kW Solar System with Battery Storage

A 6.6kW solar system with battery storage will often be enough to completely eliminate a household’s power bills if your daily energy usage is around 25kWh. If you use more electricity in the home, a 10kW system may be a better fit.

A 6.6kW solar system with Tesla Powerwall battery storage now starts at $20,000, fully installed! This includes a good quality solar system using premium panels, a string inverter and a Tesla Powerwall Battery.

6kW solar power system price table

*Credit eligibility criteria, terms & conditions, fees & charges apply. The 5.54% variable interest rate is current as of 15/01/2024 and subject to change without notice. The comparison rate of 6.52% is based on an unsecured loan amount of $30,000 over a loan term of 5 years. 

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The Real 6kW Solar System Price

Trying to work out how much to pay for a 6kW solar system isn’t easy – the solar market is awash with super-cheap 6kW and 6.6kW solar deals at the moment.

Unfortunately, many thousands of households are now finding themselves in a lot of trouble with these dodgy systems, and we want you to know why before you become the next victim.

6.6kW solar panel system roof installation

Cheap 6.6kW Solar Systems

Most of the 6.6kW solar systems you see advertised online are far too cheap – they use no-name panels, and we hear stories every week of people being left high and dry by installers who go belly-up, or simply won’t return phone calls. Many of these cheap 6.6kW solar systems are between $3,000 and $4,500.

Cheap 6.6kW solar deals have become such a problem, that it is estimated an incredible 1 in 3 solar systems in Australia are unsupported due to either the manufacturer or the installer going under.

cheap solar companies don't last

To give you some idea of the problem we have with cheap solar, here are the number of solar manufacturers currently operating in Australia compared to 2013 – most, if not all of the systems from the manufacturers may no longer be in Australia and so are now without a valid warranty.

So How Much Do You Have to Pay to Avoid Buying a 'Cheap' 6.6kW Solar System?

The first thing most people do when they search for a 6kW solar system is to find out the price for a full installation. Here are some typical ads you will see in your search results:

cheap solar deals through Google ads

And what about this one?! The bottom of the solar market just keeps getting cheaper:

cheap solar deals EOFY Google ads

If you are new to solar power, your very first online search could have you believing a good quality 6kW solar system costs between $2500 and $4000. The ads above include words like ‘premium’ and ‘tier 1’.

It all sounds great… except it’s not.

These prices are far too cheap for a good quality 6kW solar system, and by considering this price range you are descending into the murky waters of the cheap end of the solar market.

What's So Bad About a Cheap 6kW Solar System?

From faulty components to dodgy installations and non-existent service. There are thousands of horror stories posted online, and we get dozens of calls a week from people trying to get their system back online after people give up on trying to get help from their original installer.

The strange thing is, most people know about the dangers of buying a cheap solar system. The entire industry often gets a bad wrap because of the reliability issues with these systems. They are often featured on shows such as A Current Affair.

The largest solar installer in Australia in 2017 was renowned for selling cheap solar systems, and it came as no surprise to us when they recently went into liquidation.

They have now joined more than 700 installers who have left the industry, in many cases leaving their customers high and dry.

As industry insiders say, the warranties that come with a cheap system aren’t worth the paper they are written on. If your installer and the manufacturer are no longer in business, you will be joining approximately 1 in 3 solar households, now known as solar orphans.

Cheap Solar Panels Can Cost You Thousands

LG Solar have estimated in a recent report that you are potentially throwing away tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the system if you fall victim to ‘cheap solar panels’ like so many households have across Australia.

In the numbers below, the system with standard solar panels died after 12 years. From over 10 years of experience in the industry, we can tell you of dozens of cases a month where people are trying to fix systems that are only 3-5 years old.

Here are some of the numbers from the LG Solar report that we would be happy to share with you, just ask one of our representatives for the full document.

LG solar vs standard solar panels

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Why Are There So Many 6.6kW Solar Deals Around at the Moment?

There are a couple of regulations that have resulted in many solar companies offering a 6.6kW system.

Firstly, a home with single-phase power is often limited to a solar system that is 5kW or less, however, the regulation is actually measured by the inverter’s output, not the panels. That means installers can over-size the panel array in comparison to the inverter.

This is something that we do as well, in fact, it is a great way to maximise the output of the system.

6kW LG solar panel system roof installation

The other part of the equation is that the Clean Energy Council has regulated that an inverter can be oversized by up to 133%, which means on a 5kW inverter you can have a panel array that is up to… you guessed it… 6.6kW.

A Good Quality 6kW Solar System Price

If you were to get 3 quotes for a good quality 6kW solar system from reputable solar installers in Australia, you would find that our quotes include similar brands from the top handful of manufactuers, and our prices will all be within a few hundred dollars of each other. Yes, there can be slight differences, but for the most part, the quotes will be in the same ballpark.

To put it another way, you won’t find a $7,000 6kW system ‘on sale’ for $4000. Even if you’re happy for the installer to cut a few corners (which you shouldn’t be), you simply can’t get top quality brands for that type of money.

Good quality solar panels have dropped in price to the point where it no longer makes sense to consider the bottom end of the solar market when buying a 6kW solar system. You can have the best solar panels from the world’s leading manufacturers, plus online monitoring, a professional installation, and full technical support, and still get a return on your money in 3-5 years.

Remember, solar power is an investment that should provide clean energy & lower power bills for well over 20 years. You really don’t want issues with the system in the next 3-6 years, as this is just around the time you get your money back.

Good quality 6.6kW solar power systems with a string inverter start at $5,390-$5,840. This is around the minimum you should pay to ensure you get a good quality 6.6kW solar system in Sydney. $4,500 will get you a good value panel such as the Q.MAXX 400W panel.

From here, you can upgrade to a Smart Solar System from Enphase. Because a 6.6kW solar system can save you over $2,000 a year, it often makes sense to spend a little more upfront and be happy with a slightly longer payback period.

A top of the range system using REC Alpha Pure panels and Enphase microinverters will cost around $11,000-$11,540, fully installed.

There are real advantages to installing a top-quality solar system, mainly reliability, performance in all weather conditions, and longevity. They also come with all of the latest technology including back-to-base monitoring, automatic status alerts and outstanding support from both REC Solar and Enphase when required.

The Output of a 6kW Solar System

According to the Clean Energy Council guidelines, a 6kW solar system in Sydney facing north will produce an average of 24kWh a day, outputting more power in summer and less in winter.

We have found that this guideline is a conservative estimate and that by using the top brands you can get considerably more out of our system, for example, our Enphase systems give our customers on average 110% of expected output.

On an average day in summer, a 6kW system will give our customers around 30 kWh of power. Because this can be too much power for many households, we often recommend considering a 6.6kW solar system with battery storage so that any excess solar power can then be used during the evening.

estimated average daily energy output by month

How Much Will a 6kW Solar System Save Me?

The potential savings of a 6kW solar system depend on how much solar power you are able to use in the home at the time of generation. You will typically save around 25 to 30 cents a kWh (depending on how much you pay for your power), and depending on your retailer, you will be paid around 5-10 cents a kWh for the power you send back to the grid. A 6kW solar system can save you up to around $500 to $650 per quarterly bill.

More information is available here: How Solar Power Reduces Your Power Bill

Number of Solar Panels for a 6kW Solar System

The larger the system, the more important it is to buy quality panels to ensure you maximise reliability, increased output in all weather conditions and the longevity of the system.

The other consideration is roof space. By installing high-efficiency panels, we can use 16 x 400W panels instead of 22 x 300W panels like you will often see advertised.

6kW Microinverter 'Smart' Solar System

1KOMMA5° is the largest and most experienced installer of Enphase Micro inverter solar systems in Australia and our system designers are experts at putting together a professional solar array that will maximise solar output in all conditions.

The main benefit of microinverters is that each panel is independent of the others, making it possible to design an array across different orientations and at different angles. A common panel layout is to have some panels facing north, and the others west to spread the output of solar power across the day, making it easier to use more of the solar power as it is generated. Having panels west is also advantageous if you are on time-of-use billing, where households typically pay around 50c per kWh between 2 pm and 8 pm for power.

On larger residential systems, the panels in the middle of the array can get quite hot during summer as airflow under the panels is less than ideal. When panels get too hot, the output can be significantly reduced. Because of this, we recommend using microinverter technology and in fact, over 80% of our systems now include this technology. Find out all you need to know about Enphase: 10 key benefits of microinverter systems.

6kW Solar System on a House with Single-Phase Power

In some circumstances, it is now possible to install a system larger than 5kW on a house with single-phase power in NSW.

Enphase solar systems now allow us to limit the amount of power your system sends to the grid to 5 kW. This means you are no longer limited to a 5kW solar system. Here are a few options that we would be happy to talk to you about in more detail depending on your location and your specific requirements:

1. We can install a single-phase string inverter up to 5kW with a 6.6kW array of panels. A well-designed solar system can save you thousands of dollars and significantly increase output by oversizing the panel array compared to the inverter.

2. If you are interested in Enphase, we can limit the amount of excess solar power that gets exported to the power grid. This allows us to install much more than the 5kW limit – typically up to a 10kW system (even on a single-phase home). Contact us for more information.

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