Factors to consider when buying a solar system in Singapore
TThe Singapore government has just announced that the Circuit Breaker (CB) period has been extended till 1 June 2020 and everyone is encouraged to remain at home. With more time spent indoors, this gives us opportunities to work on our homes, especially tasks such as spring cleaning, clearing the storeroom and even minor retrofitting. For those living in landed homes, this period is an excellent time for us to consider installing a solar system. We at SolarPVExchange understand that this purchase decision can be confusing, with so many choices out there. Therefore, we have decided to write this article to share more on how you can select a solar system in Singapore.
1. Roof Maximization
This is equivalent to powering around 12 HDB 4-Room flats monthly.
In principle, it is recommended to always maximize the number of solar panels that can be placed on a roof. This is because of the higher cost of labour in Singapore and the fact that solar systems are a long-term investment for at least 25 years. The difference in solar revenue across 25 years outweighs the cost of the extra pieces of solar panels.
2. Cost Comparison – Cost per watt-peak
Solar installers in Singapore carry varying brands of solar panels, singing the praises of each brand and model.
How do we then differentiate the solar installers from each other?
A simple way to compare from a cost perspective is to take the total cost divided by the solar system size. Doing so, you will get the cost per watt-peak ($/Wp). 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*
Which solar system should I go for?
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 Bs 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!
3. Which Solar Panel Brand? Does the country of origin matter?
After surveying various banks, engineering firms and technical experts, Bloomberg New Energy Finance(BENF) typically releases a list, ranking solar panel brands based on their bankability rating through a tier system. Eg; Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3.
Most Tier 1 solar panels manufacturers have factories based in China and Vietnam which have lower manufacturing costs, and this is one reason why solar panels are more affordable!
Unbeknown to many, these solar panels have also been pressure tested and are built to withstand varying environments, which is why solar panel manufacturers are confident enough to provide warranties for up to 25 years.
Tier 1 solar panels have met the industry and performance gold standard by experts in the industry and can be recognized as collaterals by financial institutions and be pledged for the repayment of non-recourse debts, etc, This is especially important for Utility scale solar projects which might be funded by more than one investor.
As long as the brand of solar panel offered to you has a high BNEF bankability rate (Top 3 of the BNEF Tier 1 List), you can be assured that you are getting the best panels in the market, regardless of the country of origin.
Here in SolarPVExchange, we offer solar panels with the latest technology and efficiency available in Singapore which fulfil stringent compliance requirements required by the authorities (especially government projects).
4. How about Inverters?
There are only a few players in the solar inverter industry. It is recommended to select a big and reputable company which invests a lot in R&D, especially in the development of their solar inverter product line.
5. Which installer should I go for?
Many solar installers in Singapore go bust after a few years, so 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.
Sunseap Group is Singapore's largest solar installer and developer in terms of market share, having won the most solar tenders under HDB's SolarNova programme. Sunseap's Solar projects typically have contractual obligations to be fulfilled and are expected to meet performance requirements for 20 years. In Vietnam alone, Sunseap had commissioned one of the biggest solar farms in the region, with a system size of 168MWp, and a project value of USD150 million.
We hope this helps in your decision on which solar installer in Singapore to choose from.
For enquiries, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!