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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

RESIDENTIAL MEMBERS - LANDED HOME

1.  I'm currently in the midst of renovating my house, will I need to have a solar PV system installed only at this time?

Solar PV systems can be installed at any time and is a fairly quick process depending on the structure of your house and access factors to where the solar PV panels will be installed. This typically takes 2-6 weeks for residential, pending on the complexity of the system.

Sometimes, it is even advisable to install the solar PV system during the building phase. This is to reduce invasive rennovation works such as running cables, during the installation phase.

2.  In the event that I'm able to install a solar PV system, will I be dependent on the power it generates exclusively?

Your solar PV system will supply your energy usage along with the power grid supply seamlessly. However, energy will still be drawn from the regular power grid when the solar PV system is insufficient to support your loads.

3.  Can the electrical energy be stored for usage if I happen not to use it or don't use that much on a particular day? Or will it be wasted? Will this affect the estimated savings?

Technically, yes, the electrical energy can be stored. However, at this point of time, it is commercially not feasible yet as the costs of purchasing and maintaining/replacing the batteries are a bit too high but we expect with advancement in technology, the price of batteries should come down, just like solar panels. Not to mention, batteries also take up space which might be a challenge for a smaller residential unit. Energy produced by the solar PV system that is not consumed will be fed into the main power grid. So you will get a discount on your next electricity bill by Singapore Power. The value you ‘sell back’ will offset your actual electricity bill.

Will there be any disruption as power cuts in/out of the solar PV system during the day?
No, there will be no interruption as the transition in use of energy source between the grid and the solar PV system is seamless.

4.  Can I sell excess power back to Singapore Power?

Yes, you can but this depends on your system size. Note: Export credit scenario can only apply to owners with a solar PV system smaller than 1 MW or owners with a wholesaler license (which allows them to trade energy in the wholesale electricity market). For more information on this, please refer to the energy market authorities website: www.ema.gov.sg/Licensees_Electricity_Licences.aspx

5.  What is the general lifespan of the solar panels? Is this the most expensive component of the system?

Solar PV panels usually last for 20 to 25 years and usually come with a manufacturer's warranty when you purchase them. Solar panels usually represent the biggest portion of the system costs, which is about 30-40% of the total system cost, but this can differ from country to country, pending on the other components, like manpower costs (to design, build and test).

6.  What is the risk of having the most expensive component of the system breakdown before the estimated ROI period?

If you purchase a solar PV system, it is recommended to ensure that you have the necessary warranties for the parts such as the solar panels and inverters. Since good credible solar panels (should) carry a 20-25 years warranty (but we highly recommend that clients to check with the installer before purchasing as SolarPVExchange is not responsible for any of the installations done), therefore if you have the warranty for the solar panels for 20-25 years, you will be assured by the installer/manufacturer that should the panels breakdown before the ROI period, you will covered by the warranty.

7.  What is the general warranty period for such system?

Good credible solar panels should come with a warranty of 20-25 years. For the other parts like inverters, you might want to consider purchasing an extended warranty for extra coverage (Contact us for more information). Also, it would be advisable for the owner to purchase insurance for the solar PV system as well.

8.  Can cloudy days affect power generation?

Yes, clouds can diffuse/block sunlight, which in turn restricts the amount of sunlight absorbed by the solar PV system. There will still be electricity generated but at a reduced output.

9.  Can I install solar PV panels myself?

It is highly recommended for you to engage the services of a professional solar PV installer for PV installations as such installations need to comply with strict local building and electrical rules and regulations. You also need it to be commissioned so that your solar PV system can run seamlessly with the grid. The professional solar PV installer can help you do all this while you enjoy energy savings.

10.  Can I install solar PV panels on a flat roof?

Yes, but the installer will usually mount the solar panels on frames/mountings which are tilted at an angle (so that rain water can flow and not be trapped on the panels thus preventing algae from growing and reducing the efficiency of solar panels) to face the right direction.

11.  Will the weight of the solar PV system be too much for my roof?

Before any installation, the installer will have to check your roof loading and ensure that the installation does not cause any waterproofing issues. Also, the installers will need to ascertain that your roof does not have any existing problems prior to the installation, else repairs must be done first and all these works must comply with the local building authorities and electrical rules and regulations.

12.  Do I need to clean my PV panels periodically?

Yes, solar PV panels need to be cleaned and maintained periodically to ensure the efficiency of the system. Kindly check with us on the available maintenance and cleaning options, and any associated costs when deciding to purchase a solar PV system.

13.  If I have rented out my house, will this still benefit me?

This depends on who pays the energy bill, the person who pays the bill benefits from it.



RESIDENTIAL MEMBERS - CONDO RESIDENTS

1.  Is such an installation even possible in the first place since the condo is already built?

Yes, the solar PV system can be installed on your roof but you will need to get official clearance from your Condo management.

2.  Will it cause any electricity supply disruption to neighbours during installation/breakdown/maintenance?

There should not be any disruption to your neighbours' electricity supply as the solar PV system should be built to work seamlessly with the main grid. So make sure you get a credible professional installer for your solar PV system.

3.  Will the solar equipment be visible in the vicinity of my surroundings?

Whether the solar PV panels are visible depends on the configuration of the roof. If you are 4 storey condo with a sloping roof, then people staying on a higher level or passing by might be able to see the solar PV system.



RESIDENTIAL MEMBERS - HDB HOME OWNERS

1.  Can I install a solar PV system if I live in an HDB flat?

HDB currently tenders out solar pv projects for their roofs so that it can help supply electricity for usage in common areas, such as lifts, water pumps and common area lightings. Residents living in HDB flats might not be allowed to install solar PV system, however, you may wish to approach your town council to check on compliance regulations.



COMMERCIAL OWNERS – OFFICE/COMMERCIAL/INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS

1.  What do I need to take note of if I want to own a solar PV system?

First of all, check your lease term/duration of possession of site. It should preferably be at least of a considerable lease term, say 20yrs or more so that you have ample time to recover the costs of investment and also enjoy the savings after the solar PV system costs is being paid off by the savings. Also, if you decide to install a solar PV system, do prepare the following documents such as your roof plan, your most recent 3 months energy bills and your land lease agreement, so that a proper solar PV analysis can be done.

2.  I already am in contract with an energy retailer, offering very good rates for my electricity, why should I go solar?

By going solar, you will always save money as the solar PV system can help reduce your energy bill. If you have very good rates for your electricity, it just means your opportunity costs is lower than those paying a higher rate and thus your projected returns of investment or breakeven point for the solar system is longer than those paying a higher rate. However, with this solar PV system, you will be less susceptible to changes in the energy prices and hence it is like a form of hedging against energy inflation. Note this depends on how much the solar PV system can help subsidize your energy bill. Last but not least, by going solar, your company can also help reduce its carbon footprint and help save the environment by going green. And by installing a solar PV system, this will also send a positive message to the public as your company is part of the green movement to reduce carbon and pollution.

3.  If I have rented out the space of my building, would this still benefit me?

This depends on who pays the energy bill, because it is the one who pays the bill that will enjoy the saving. Of course, if you are the master tenant, you can also dictate (based on a discounted tariff) how much you want to charge your tenants based on the energy produced by the solar PV system.

4.  What incentives are there for me to purchase the system?

There are various options from BCA, EMA and other governmental bodies. One of them would be Building Retrofit Energy Efficiency Financing (BREEF). Do check online which of them will be suitable for the nature of your building and business.



ASSUMPTIONS

1.  Which are the assumptions taken for the estimated savings?

Assumptions are*:
1. 3.5 average sunhours per day
2. 2.5% electricity tariff inflation/year
3. 1% system degradation/year
4. 1% inflation/year
*Only for Singapore



RISKS

1.  What if the place is vacant for a while and no energy is consumed?

Energy is still generated by the solar PV system during the day but will be exported out to the grid. This will be reflected as credits in the following month's energy bill.

2.  The energy tariffs now are so low, the savings on going solar is too low to be attractive for me.

Yes, the savings are related to the energy tariffs. However, because you are enjoying savings without paying for the upfront costs of the system, you are still better off with some savings rather than zero savings.



SAVINGS

1.  How are my savings calculated?

Your savings are calculated based on 2 factors mainly:
1. Your energy output from your solar PV system
2. Your (agreed discounted) tariff rate.
The formula is very simple: Actual Energy output X (Discounted) Tariff Rate



OTHERS

1.  I do not use a lot of energy in the day, can I sell/export it back to the energy retailer?

The excess energy that is not utilized will then be exported to the grid, which is monitored by your energy retailer and will be reflected as a credit to your following month's energy bill. Note: This export credit scenario can only apply to owners with a solar PV system smaller than 1MW or owners with a wholesaler license (which allows them to trade energy in the wholesale electricity market). For more information on this, please refer to the energy market authorities website: www.ema.gov.sg/Licensees_Electricity_Licences.aspx

2.  Who should I contact for any requests?

Please kindly contact us by e-mail at enquiries@solarpvex.com