As the dust settles from the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), nations around the world appear to be taking a tougher stance on climate change and its causes.
Asia is at the forefront of initiatives that aim to turnaround climate change. As investment moves towards renewable solutions that reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, fostering innovation in renewables can help us meet our rising energy demands. Among the diverse countries of Asia, Singapore is driving towards renewable energy after announcing in 2014 that by 2020 the nation will aggregate demand for 350MWp of solar electricity from public sector rooftops, compared to just 19MWp when the plan was unveiled. Meanwhile the energy market regulator has raised the installation cap to 650 MW of solar capacity.
As Singapore becomes a solar leader in Southeast Asia and the International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference (PVSEC) arrives in Singapore in October 2016, there has never been a better time to switch to solar energy. Solar panels harness sunlight and reduce fossil fuel imports, meaning the widespread use of solar energy only increases our self-sufficiency, and reduces financial strain caused by fluctuating global crude oil prices.
Traditionally, many small businesses might have viewed solar energy as being out of reach but this is a myth. Due to the technological advances in recent years, the initial obstacles, which made switching to solar power seem unobtainable, are no longer present. Moreover, new business models have created a number of new solutions allowing more people to be part of the coming boom of the renewable energy industry. In fact, it is now easier for businesses big or small to enjoy the cost benefits of solar energy. Here we debunk some common myths about solar power.
It´s too expensive
The cost of solar power technologies has been reduced by 70% in the last six years, making it affordable to the commercial sector. The most compelling reason for most businesses to make the switch is the money they save. Global energy prices are growing between 2.5% – 7% annually and given the growing demand for energy from transportation, businesses and households, it is safe to say that this rise will continue.
However, solar generators effectively take us out of this cycle. By adopting a solar energy electricity product, companies and individuals can protect themselves from oil price rises through price fixing. Alternatively, they can actually earn money by installing solar panels in their premises, at no cost. In 2014, Sun Electric, began test-bedding a system of providing rooftop solar power through the national grid for use by end electricity consumers without suitable rooftops. Solar electricity can be purchased by any eligible energy consumer, and will be available for home owners and all electricity consumers through the Energy Market Authorities (EMA) liberalization efforts as early as 2017.
Clouds cause power shortages
All solar panels can be installed to work seamlessly with the power grid such that a sufficient amount of electricity generated from solar can be combined with additional energy resources, while the electricity is drawn from the power grid instantaneously. Singapore receives an average of ~5.5 hours of sunshine a day, which is a much higher amount of solar radiation than in Europe.
For example, Germany has managed to produce so much energy from renewables that energy prices actually went negative for a period of time, meaning people were paid for consuming energy. Therefore, cloud cover affecting solar is a myth and businesses going solar can enjoy uninterrupted power 24/7, all 365 days a year while adopting a blended electricity supply which includes solar electricity.
The installation and upkeep of solar panels is inconvenient and time consuming
The installation of solar panels typically takes between 4 – 12 weeks during which a rooftop is not modified or damaged in any way. These panels can be located on rooftops that are not visible so that their presence does not disrupt views. Good solar panels from reputable companies come with a warranty of around 25 years, so any problems with the equipment can be taken care of.
Solar panels may need to be cleaned periodically to ensure maximum efficiency, but this is no different to cleaning your windows. They have no moving parts and are so robust that they have been seen to keep working more than 5-10 years after their warranties have expired! By going with Sun Electric, if someone has a rooftop, they can leave the installation and management of the entire process, and enable that building to play its part in powering the nation with clean energy.
I don’t have any roof space so I can´t buy solar power
Sun Electric offers all Singaporean energy consumers solar electricity even without a suitable rooftop. Non-residential energy consumers can access this energy today irrespective of their access to roof space for a solar panel. And Residential consumers are becoming eligible in the second half of 2017 and by mid 2018 will have full freedom of choice of their electricity provider as per market liberalization efforts by the EMA. Electricity consumers with or without a roof can receive clean solar electricity from a solar generator dedicated to their electrical load by just making a single phone call or applying online.
Ultimately, the decision to go solar can be seen in a similar context to owning your own home. By becoming a solar customer, even without a rooftop, you take ownership of your energy needs and associated costs. The alternative would be to continue paying an energy provider, which increases your exposure to price fluctuations, fees and dependency to monthly payments.
Choosing to go solar is a step towards energy independence and self-sufficiency while simultaneously saving money and investing in a brighter future.