Solar System Capacity (kWp) and Cost per Watt-peak
Buyer's Guide to Solar in Singapore
This blog will be a no-frills guide on all that you need to know about getting a solar system in Singapore.
Many consumers compare solar systems in terms of the number of solar panels. We advise against this because solar panels come in different dimensions. Some are bigger while others are slightly smaller. These panels also come at different power rating per panel which will affect the amount of energy that can be generated. When comparing, always compare based on Cost per watt-peak!
This is extremely important to note because some installers propose solar systems which is priced cheaply but with a much smaller solar system size; this does not mean that it is the better choice!
Company A sells a 10kWp solar system at $20,000*, Company B sells a 13 kWp solar system at $22,000*
10kWp = 10,000 Watt-peak
13kWp = 13,000 Watt-peak
*Figures are for illustrative purposes
Company A's cost per watt-peak = $20,000 / 10,000 Watt-peak = $2 per Watt-peak
Company B's cost per watt-peak = $22,000 / 13,000 Watt-peak = $1.69 per Watt-peak
You will see that although the total cost for Company A is cheaper, the cost per watt-peak of Company B is more attractive and you will generate much more energy for at least 25 years. (A 3 kWp difference can cost you as much as 96,000 kWh across 25 years! And this is the equivalent of powering 320 4-room HDB apartments in a month! Taking the current Q2 2020 SP Tariff as the basis of our calculation, 96,000kWh is equivalent to almost SGD 22,100!
I am sure you must be wondering how long it would take for your solar system to pay for itself. The truth is, no one will be able to give you an exact figure on this because no one knows the exact energy consumption figures for your house and the tariffs of the future. Energy Consumption patterns, consumption and export tariffs greatly affect the payback period.
We advise that when you ask for the payback period, understand what the basis of calculation is. It is easy for installers to give you an attractive figure to entice you into buying.
There are many variables which come into play such as the following:
• Projected sun-hours
• Average Energy Consumption (in kWh)
• Energy consumption between day and night; it ranges from 20%-60% in the day, and 40%-80% in the evening, pending on the household consumption pattern
• Consumption Rate/Tariff ($/kWh)
• Export Rate, also known as Sell-back Rate ($/kWh)
• Check with your Energy Retailer on this as it differs between different retailers
These are some of the factors that will determine the payback period of the solar PV system and clients are advised to also do their own due diligence before embarking on a solar PV system.
Note: The above variables will change over time, and therefore in order to project the payback period for your house, you will need to make certain assumptions and these assumptions may differ, pending on which research material you are making those assumptions on.
Solar Panel Brands
There are too many solar panel brands out there, each claiming to be the best and it is quite difficult for us to know which one is the best in terms of technicalities. To make this process less complicated, we recommend that you first narrow down solar panel brands to the top 5 brands which have the most volume according to *BNEF's guide.
*BNEF is Bloomberg's research arm that provides insight, data and news on the latest trends and transformation of the clean energy sector. BNEF aims to provide differentiated transparency via thorough analysis of these solar panels and how bankable they are. Thereafter, releasing a tiered list of bankable solar panels quarterly.
Warranty Support & Choice of Solar Installer
Solar Installers have all sorts of gimmick to attract you to buy their panels. Some might say it would be better to get solar panels that are produced in the region as this makes warranty claims less cumbersome. This might not necessary be the case If you purchase solar panels that have been proven to last and perform. This is the reason why we advise consumers to focus on the brands on the top of BNEF's list. In fact, installers usually have already factored in the cost of warranty support in their proposals. Installers come and go, and even manufacturing facilities get closed down as companies move their operations abroad. We advise you to choose a solar installer that is here to stay for the long run as they will be able to assist you if you experience any issue with your solar system, years down the road.
We hope this has helped you in your purchase decision. Click here to enquire with us today if you are considering to install a solar system!
SolarPVExchange is one of Singapore's pioneer solar system integrator, with a track record in managing turnkey solar photovoltaic (PV) projects. We use the latest solar PV technologies when it comes to designing and building our solar pv systems so that you get the highest efficiency from our solar system. We also provide O% interest free instalment plans via UOB U-Solar program. We specialize in residential and commercial/industrial systems and our professionally trained personnel are equipped with vast experience in handling solar PV projects from the design phase through installation till completion, providing a hassle-free experience.