Solar Energy: Efforts Ongoing to Encourage Adoption

09 Apr 2021

We thank Forum contributor Lek Lee Eng for his feedback and suggestions (Make it cheaper for people to install solar panels, 16 Mar).

The Government has embarked on several programmes to harness solar energy in Singapore despite our land constraints. These include deploying solar panels on HDB flats and industrial rooftops, and in open spaces such as reservoirs.

We have made good progress and Singapore is now one of the most solar-dense cities in the world.

We earlier met our 2020 solar deployment target of 350 megawatt-peak (MWp).

Our target is to deploy 2 gigawatt-peak (GWp) of solar energy by 2030, and we will accelerate deployment and achieve 1.5 GWp by 2025, which is equivalent to powering around 260,000 households in Singapore annually.

As technology advances and the efficiency of solar panels increases, the cost of solar panels has decreased over time.

The installed solar capacity in landed homes has grown about four times since 2015, from 3.6 MWp to around 14.9 MWp as at the fourth quarter of last year.

Solar energy has also generally reached the same cost as conventional technologies.

The Energy Market Authority (EMA) seeks to make it easier for consumers, including landed homeowners, to sell their excess solar energy. EMA’s Simplified Credit Treatment Scheme allows consumers to register with SP Group and be paid directly through their monthly bill.

EMA has also lowered the cost of entry by introducing the Solar Generation Profile, thus avoiding the cost of metering the produced solar energy.

We would also like to clarify that homeowners selling electricity generated from excess solar energy are paid a rate of the prevailing regulated tariff, minus grid charges.

This is because the grid charge component of the regulated tariff is meant to recover the cost of transporting electricity through the power grid, regardless of the electricity’s generation source.

Likewise, generation companies are only paid the energy cost of any electricity that they export into the grid.

This explains the difference between the regulated tariff, which is the price of electricity sold by SP Group, and the price at which electricity is bought from households generating excess solar energy.

Lee Seng Wai
Policy and Planning Department
Energy Market Authority

Make it cheaper for people to install solar panels, 16 March 2021 (The Straits Times)

By Lek Lee Eng

The Government has indicated it wants to quadruple the use of solar energy by 2025, as part of Singapore's Green Plan 2030.

An under-tapped area is for those living in landed homes to install solar panels on their rooftops.

Currently, the cost is prohibitive. It takes seven to eight years just to recover the installation cost of solar panels for landed homes.

Reducing this long break-even period will surely encourage more to install solar panels.

Here are two suggestions.

One would be to provide some monetary incentive to encourage solar panel installation.

This can be in the form of a property tax rebate or some income tax relief.

Second, the price at which SP Group sells its electricity is much higher than the price at which it buys electricity from households generating solar energy for the grid.

This effectively means that "dirty" energy commands a premium value over "clean" energy, which is contrary to the Government's push for green energy.

This differential should be eliminated to reduce the break-even period for the cost of solar panel installation.

There is every reason in sunny Singapore to tap solar energy from as many rooftops as possible. This is a low-hanging fruit which the Government can harness and encourage.

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