Source: The Straits Times

Solar Panels in Singapore: Current Status and Future Potential

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The solar panel is a combination of solar (or photovoltaic) cells, which can generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect. These cells are organized in a grid-like pattern on the surface of solar panels.

Solar energy is the most promising renewable energy source for electricity generation in Singapore. It is clean, generates no emissions, and contributes to Singapore’s energy security.

Singapore continues to progress towards achieving its renewable energy and climate change goals by installing rooftop solar panels on public housing, and more recently, with the launch of floating solar energy.

Solar panel scenario in Singapore 

As of Dec 2019, about 2,060 HDB blocks have been installed with solar panels. Another 2,500 blocks are in the process of being installed with solar panels.

Singapore has met its 2020 target of deploying 350 megawatts of solar capacity, enough to power around 60,000 households for a year.

The solar energy is used to power lifts, lights and water pumps during the day.

By 2030, Singapore is looking forward to ramping up its solar capacity by more than seven times from current levels and increase the current 260 megawatt-peak (MWp) of installed solar capacity to 2 gigawatt-peak (GWp).

This is enough to meet the annual power needs of around 350,000 households in Singapore, or about four percent of Singapore’s total electricity demand. Presently, solar energy makes up less than 1% of Singapore’s energy demand.

To meet the 2030 solar target, Singapore is working on maximising solar panels’ deployment onto available surfaces, including rooftops, reservoirs, offshore sea space, and on the vertical surfaces of buildings.

Grid-connected installed capacity grew significantly in Singapore from 10.1 Megawatt peak (MWp) in 2012 to 384.1MWp at the end of the first quarter (Q1) of 2020.

Source: www. ema.gov.sg

 

The majority of solar PV capacity by the end of Q1 2020 was accounted for: 

  • Non-residential private-sector installations (202.3 MWp)
  • Town councils and grassroots units (148.3 MWp)
  • Public-sector installations (20.4 MWp) 
  • Residential installations (13.1 MWp)

There was a total of 4,116 solar PV installations in Singapore as at the end of Q1 2020:

  • Town councils and grassroots units 2,199 installations
  • Residential 1,308 installations 
  • Private-sector 471 installations
  • Public sector 138 installations

Types of solar panels available in Singapore

Following are the key types of solar panels available in the country:

  • Rooftop Solar Panel 

A rooftop PV system is a photovoltaic system with its electricity-generating solar panels installed on the rooftop of a residential or commercial building or structure.

In land-scarce regions such as Singapore, rooftop solar panels provide an avenue for businesses to utilise solar energy by generating it from the rooftops of their buildings.

The Housing & Development Board (HDB) has declared plans for investing solar panels to HDB flats.

Solar panels in Singapore housing flats aim to generate a solar capacity to produce 540 megawatt-peak (MWp) by 2030, which is on standard with powering about 135,000 four-room flats clean energy over the next ten years.

Currently, HDB has exceeded its target of 220 megawatt-peak (MWp), which is the same as powering 55,000 four-room flats, by 2020.

The new target set for 2030 will be accomplished by installing solar panels across more HDB blocks. The use of new technologies allows more solar energy to be generated from the same amount of space on HDB rooftops.

  • Floating Solar Panel

Floating solar is a solar array that floats upon a body of water. The solar panels are placed on a floating structure to keep them above the water’s surface and are typically placed on relatively calmer water bodies such as ponds, lakes, and human-made dam reservoirs.

Work has begun on the Tengeh Reservoir project, which will convert solar energy into electricity and have a maximum capacity of 60MW.

The solar farm is expected to compensate for about 32 kilo tonnes of carbon emissions yearly, equivalent to taking about 7,000 cars off Singapore’s roads.

The floating solar farm, covering an area of about 45 football fields, will be Singapore’s largest and one of the biggest in the world.

Future floating solar PV will generate clean electricity and will be combined with other industrial uses such as fish farming, desalination, or “green” hydrogen generation.

Every component of the system was carefully outlined and selected based on Singapore’s climate conditions to increase energy generation, reduce environmental and water quality impact, and be durable enough to accomplish a service lifespan of 25 years.

For example, the solar plant will use more long-lasting double-glass panels instead of single-glass ones commonly used in rooftop installations.

Smart technologies included in the system are safety cameras, live video monitoring, dashboards, and alerts that help track environmental factors such as wind speed, solar irradiation, and ambient temperature.

Government Policies

Singapore’s energy policy is not to organise supply and demand through a market-based platform. 

Given Singapore’s land and water resource constraints, the government has been taking practical and regulated steps in developing solar energy as a sustainable renewable energy source. 

The government started a program called SolarNova, which is intended to accelerate the uptake of solar. Through the SolarNova program, solar demand across all government agencies is aggregated to get them bulk-buying power.

They signed long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with private sector owners/operators of solar panels for their solar power. The government agencies profit by getting better pricing. The departments that did not have the right conditions for operating their PV systems obtain access to the clean energy market. 

The government sector is leading the way with the adoption of renewables, but businesses are also seeing the benefits. In 2015, Apple revealed it would power all its Singapore operations with solar energy. 

They have a PPA with local solar company Sunseap to buy power from 800 buildings to cover its needs. These sorts of off-site PPAs are becoming more common as many businesses do not have their generation capability.

Solar power manufacturers in Singapore 

Most households in Singapore are now switching to solar panels because of the seemingly endless benefits. On top of reducing energy bills, solar panels are a huge help to the environment as they reduce fossil fuel dependence.

Rezeca Renewables

Rezeca Renewables is a pioneering Singapore based company in the field of renewable power and energy efficiency. They focus on solar panels for both residential and commercial spaces.

They are a leading provider of grid-tied solar power systems in Singapore and Thailand. They aim to help their customers and partners switch to renewable forms of power generation and implement energy efficiency measures with proven, cost-effective solutions that bring long-term economic and environmental benefits.

SinEnergy

SinEnergy is a local solar panel company that strives to reduce Singaporeans’ dependence on fossil fuels by introducing the best solar panels in Singapore. They accept clients from residential, commercial, and even utility sectors.

SinEnergy offers three types of solar panel setups: rooftop, ground-mounted, and on-grid systems. If customers aren’t sure which of these is ideal for their home, SinEnergy’s customer service team will be more than willing to help.

Some of the famous corporate clients of SinEnergy are Canadian Solar, Panasonic, and Huawei, proving that it offers top-notch services.

SolarPVExchange

SolarPVExchange is an in-demand name within the commercial sector, but it extends its services to residential clients. Its solar panel installation process even complies with the strict regulations implemented by authorities.

On top of that, SolarPVExchange employs a team of professionally trained and skilled engineers and technicians, backed by years of experience handling solar panel projects.

LYS Energy Solutions

LYS Energy Group is the leading Singapore home-grown Solar Independent Power Producer (IPP) that builds, owns, and operates Solar PV Systems for Commercial, Industrial, and Public sites in the Asia Pacific region.

Some of the industries that LYS Energy Solutions caters to are engineering, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, electronics, transportation, logistics, and more. It’s also the first company in Singapore to build and operate its solar photovoltaic systems.

SolarGy

SolarGy is open to servicing homeowners, business owners, and even school administrators. Has commenced marketing their expertise to provide solar energy solutions to the South East Asian region. 

The company is genuinely excited and passionately committed to providing functional and creative solar energy solutions for its clients.

Some of the benefits of using solar panels by SolarGy are reduced electricity bills, reduced carbon emissions, enhanced corporate social responsibility, a reduced carbon footprint, and a whole lot more.

Solar panel price in Singapore

Solar companies can typically get a single solar panel for S$0.75 per watt. Therefore, if the solar panel output is 250W, that single panel might cost S$187.50. 

However, if a homeowner is trying to buy one or two panels on their own for a small DIY project, they will likely pay closer to S$1 per watt. That means the same solar panel could cost closer to S$250.

A typical solar panel runs from as low as S$0.85 per watt to S$1.25 per watt with output ranging from 150W to 350W.

Final Words 

The growth of Singapore’s solar energy industry will demand a new generation of professional workers with diverse skills.

New high value-added jobs in research, manufacturing, engineering, and construction that support the solar energy industry can be expected.

 

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