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What were Australian solar buyers wanting in a system in October 2020? The latest SolarQuotes auSSII report reveals all.

Solar System Capacity Selection

After reaching nearly 85% in September, interest (where capacity was specified) in 6kW or larger solar systems  sat at close to 84% in October – the first time we’ve seen the upward trend for this size range halted for quite some time. Interest in 6kW+ compared to 6kW was significantly higher in October: +12%. It was only a few months back when 6kW ruled the roost, but as we’ve previously mentioned both these options would be capturing interest for the “sweet-spot” choice of 6.6kW. That muddies the waters a little and is something we’ll address on the quoting form.

Solar system sizing selection in October 2020

PV Purchasing Timeframe

Australians were really eager to get solar panels installed on their rooftops sooner rather than later. Interest in purchasing a system immediately rose to 24% in October (September: 23%, August: 20%, July: 22%). The proportion of those using the SolarQuotes service considering a solar power system purchase any time from immediately to within three months also rose – 98% compared to 97% in September, August and July.

Solar system purchase intent  in October 2020

System Price Vs. Quality

As in September, approximately 12% of prospective buyers were wanting pricing on a “top quality” (most expensive) system in October. 80% were interested in a solar power package offering a good balance of quality and cost, while 8% were focused on a good quality budget system.

Advanced Solar Monitoring

Interest in advanced monitoring continued to fall in October, down to 47% compared to 49% in September, 63% in August and 69% in July. Learn more about the advantages of advanced solar monitoring.

Microinverter Option

A microinverter is a miniaturised inverter installed with each solar panel, taking the place of a single conventional string solar inverter usually used in a full system. The use of microinverters adds to the cost of a system, but the devices offer a number of advantages over a single string inverter setup.

In October, close to 13% of those using the SQ service expressed an interest in microinverters, compared to 14% in September, August and July.

“Battery-Ready” Option

Interest in battery-ready systems popped up a bit in October, at ~6% compared to ~5% in September. A home battery can be added to just about any existing PV system post-installation, but specifying storage may be wanted down the track can assist with system design.

Battery-ready PV interest in October 2020

Solar + Battery Installation

As in September, interest in installing a battery system at the same time as solar panels sat at a little under 13% in October. If you’re contemplating having a battery installed with your solar panels, crunch the numbers using SQ’s solar and battery calculator, which will detail how savings are impacted by energy storage and solar panels separately.

Battery Storage Capacity

Where a battery capacity preference was noted, here’s what Australians were interested in during October:

1 – 5 kWh: 17% (September ~14%, August 14%, July: 15%)
5 – 10 kWh: 49% (September ~51%, August 50%, July: 50%)
10 kWh +:  34% (September ~35%, August 35%, July: 34%)

61% of those interested in buying batteries were seeking advice on system sizing, a significant jump from September’s 55%.

Home battery capacity selection - October 2020

Intended Primary Battery Use

5% noted the primary application for a battery would be for backup purposes, within the usual range we see. 45% said it would be primarily used for minimising mains grid electricity consumption, up on September’s 40%. 50% expressed a desire to use a battery for both purposes (53% in September).

Primary battery application - October 2020

Electricity Bills Pre-Solar

Again in October, around 50% of Australians requesting quotes for solar who knew what they paying for electricity noted bills of between $500 and $1,000 a quarter – this figure has remained fairly static in recent months. The proportion of Australians paying more than $1,000 a quarter sat at little over 12%, not much change from September when the figure was just shy of 13%.

Quarterly electricity costs before solar panels - October 2020

 

Source: Solar Quotes

Report: auSSII

Results from June indicate PV systems larger than 6kW are continuing to be increasingly popular among Australia’s prospective home solar buyers.

Solar Power System Sizing

In June, nearly 83% of Australian solar shoppers using the SolarQuotes service who had a system size already in mind wanted a 6kW solar system or larger, up slightly on May. Of those, just shy of 51% wanted a 6kW system and the rest, even bigger – so it may not be long before we see 6kW+ consistently trumping 6kW in requests. As for 5kW PV systems, just 12% wanted this capacity – in June last year the proportion was 16% and in June 2018, 37%.

Solar power system size choice during June 2020

Time Frame For Solar Purchase

Interest in buying a system immediately picked up in June – 25% compared to 22% in May and 23% in April. Again in June, 98% of Australians requesting quotes were considering a purchase any time from immediately to within 3 months.

Solar purchasing intent during June 2020

Price Vs Quality Selections

The proportion of solar buyers wanting a “top quality” (most expensive) system was just over 12% in June – same as in May – while 79% were after a PV package offering a balance between quality and cost, and 9% a good quality budget system.

Solar power system pricing and quality - June 2020

Advanced Solar Monitoring Option

Interest in optional advanced solar monitoring remained high in June -70%; same as in May and up from 67% in April.

Advanced Solar Consumption Monitoring interest during June 2020

Microinverter Option

Microinverter interest was again 14% in June. A microinverter is a miniature inverter that operates with a single panel instead of the more common arrangement of a single string inverter being used with multiple solar panels.

Microinverter interest during June 2020

Battery Ready Solar Systems

There was a significant drop in battery ready solar system interest in June – down to 8% from May’s 11% and April’s 12%. While all solar power systems can have batteries fitted, for some it’s easier than others and we ask this question on the quoting form to assist installation companies with system design.

Battery-ready system interest during June 2020

Solar And Battery Installation

Just under 9% expressed interest in a concurrent battery installation along with their solar panels in June, compared to 7% in May. This result when considered with the “battery ready” figures above indicate Australia’s solar battery storage revolution is still to really kick into gear among new system purchasers.

Concurrent solar + battery install - June 2020

Battery Sizing

For those who were considering a concurrent battery installation and had a size (capacity) in mind, 11% wanting pricing and details on 1-5kWh energy storage system, 54% for 5-10kWh and 32% for 10kWh+. More than half of all potential battery purchasers indicated they needed advice on selecting energy storage capacity.

Battery capacity - June 2020

Primary Battery Application

5% wanted a battery primarily for backup (6% May and 3% in April), while 37% were wanting a battery mainly for minimising grid use (35% in May, 36% in April) and 57% for both applications (59% in May and 61% in April).

Primary battery use indicated - June 2020

Quarterly Power Bills

Where power bill costs were indicated, 48% stated their quarterly electricity bills were between $500 and $1,000 on average, same as May.  Just under 10% were paying $1,000 or more – down on May’s 11% and April and March’s 12%.

Quarterly electricity bills - June 2020

 

Source: Solar Quotes
REPORT: auSSII