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Solar Panels in Singapore: Expert Answers 6 Questions on How to Install Them in Your Home

Joanne Poh
Solar Panels in Singapore: Expert Answers 6 Questions on How to Install Them in Your Home
Eco-consciousness is on the rise in Singapore, and the government, businesses and individuals are realising the importance of adopting sustainable practices.
For instance, Singapore will very soon become home to the world’s biggest floating solar farm, which is expected to produce enough power for 16,000 4-room HDB flats. What is more, the HDB is greening the public housing sector through the Green Towns Programme, which aims to reduce energy consumption in HDB towns by 15% in 2030.
As individuals, one way we can make our homes more eco-friendly is to use green electricity, which is electricity generated from renewable sources. While some are happy to make the switch to green electricity providers, others look to installing solar panels into their homes.
For those who are interested in having their own home solar panels, we asked Solar AI Technologies to find out more about this option.

Pros and Cons of Installing Solar Panels In Your Home

Before jumping into the installation process, here’s an overview of the pros and cons of installing solar panels in your home.
Pros of installing solar panels
Cons of installing solar panels
Eco-friendly and combats climate change by lowering carbon emissions
High upfront costs of purchasing solar panel system
Reduced electricity bills
Not all roofs are right for solar panel systems
Long lifespan
Can be weather-dependent
Affordable maintenance costs
High chance of improper installation
Can make a profit by selling excess electricity
Can increase home value
Now you’ve got an idea of what to expect, let’s dive into the details!

1. How Do Solar Panels Work? Addressing Misconceptions

Rooftop solar panels
When exposed to the sun, solar panels capture light particles in order to generate voltage or electricity. They thus offer a cost-effective way for households to supplement their electrical supply and lower their electric bills.
There is, however, a misconception that solar-powered homes experience electrical supply disruptions at night.
“In Singapore, all houses with solar panels are still connected to the electricity grid. Homeowners can sell excess electricity generated in the day to the grid and will not experience any electrical outages. There is also no need for battery storage to supply electricity at night,” says Solar AI.
So even on rainy or cloudy days, you’re not at the risk of experiencing electrical outages at home.

2. Do I Still Pay for Electricity If I Have Solar Panels?

The short answer is maybe.
The long answer is that your home first consumes electricity generated by your solar panel system, for which you will not have to pay electricity bills. After that, if you still require additional power, electricity will be drawn from the electricity grid. You will pay your electricity retailer for this electricity.
What if your solar panel system generates more electricity than you use? Any excess electricity is sold back to the electricity grid and can be used to offset your electricity and other utility bills.
Still, the end result is you’ll pay less for your electricity since you’ll likely consume less electricity from the grid.

3. What Is the Average Cost to Install Solar Panels on a House?

So how much do solar panels cost? According to Solar AI, the cost of solar installation in Singapore ranges from $10,000 to $50,000, with the average household in landed property spending about $20,000 for a 10 kWp system, which translates to a cost of $2,000/kWp.
The cost will depend on the number of solar panels being installed, the material and orientation of the roof, and the installation process. You can use online tools, like Solar AI’s online solar assessment tool to find out the solar potential of your roof and get quotes.
“Most property owners in Singapore choose to maximise their roof space for their solar panel installation, as larger systems equate to lower unit costs. That said, you may also want to consider your monthly electricity consumption and design your solar system to fit your daytime electricity needs,” says Solar AI.
The average period of time needed to recoup the cost of the solar panels through energy savings is about seven years, although this is dependent on factors such as the size of the solar panel system and the household’s electricity use patterns. Some households break even in four to five years.
Solar panels typically have a warranty period of 25 to 30 years. Inverters, which are attached to solar panels, have a lifespan of about five to 12 years and must be replaced at least once during the lifetime of a solar panel.
Maintenance costs about $300 to $500 each time and is recommended once every one or two years.

4. How Are Solar Panels Installed? Step-by-Step Guidelines

Solar panel and workers
Installation of solar panels on a roof.

Step 1: Mount installation

The first step involves setting up the structures that will be used to mount the solar panels to your roof, and can include installing rails or bolts.

Step 2: Install the Solar Panels

The panels are lifted to the roof and attached securely to the installations previously fixed to the roof.

Step 3: Do Electrical Wiring

Once the solar panels have been mounted, they must be wired in order to connect them to the photovoltaic system that can generate electricity.

Step 4: Connect the System to the Solar Inverter

The solar inverter converts direct current electricity generated by the solar panel to alternating current electricity which is used to power homes.
If you wish to store energy, you can get an optional battery or storage system but it can be quite costly (about $10,000 more).

Step 5: Connect Solar Inverter to the Grid

The solar inverter must then be connected to the electrical grid which receives the electricity.

Step 6: Start Solar Inverter

Finally, the solar inverter is turned on to start the solar panel system. This usually takes no more than a few minutes.

5. Can I Install Solar Panels on My Home Myself?

Yes, you can if you live in a landed property, but not fully. For a system to be commissioned, a licensed electrical worker (LEW) needs to endorse the system. That’s why engaging a professional is highly recommended; you are likely unfamiliar with the safety standards, building and electrical rules and regulations too.
According to Solar AI, there is no need for landed property owners to apply for planning permission. That is unless you live in a conservation area or intend to install elevated solar panels from one to 1.8 metres above your roof, or plan to put the space under the solar panels for commercial use.
If you live in a condo penthouse, you can apply for approval from your MCST to install a solar panel system. However, you will not be allowed to export or sell excess electricity to the grid and might be held liable for any risks to the condominium.

6. Can You Install Solar Panels in HDB Flats?

If you live in an HDB flat, you are unfortunately not allowed to install solar panels on your flat’s rooftop. However, HDB does have a 10-year master plan to become more energy-efficient by 2030, with a solar energy target of providing power for 350,000 homes. For instance, 527 HDB blocks in Tanjong Pagar will have solar panels installed.
While HDB has no specific rules against installing solar panels in your flat, do note that no installations should be set up outside of your flat unless you get approval. You’ll have to abide by Common Property and Open Spaces rules.

Conclusion: Should I Install Solar Panels in My Home?

solar-panels-singapore (3)
There are many advantages to adopting a solar panel system at home. Other than being eco-friendly, solar panel systems can also save you money in the long run by reducing your electricity bills and enabling you to sell excess electricity back to the electricity grid.
The main disadvantage is the relatively high upfront cost of purchasing a solar panel system. However, as mentioned earlier, the costs can be offset in an average of about seven years. In order to reduce the impact of potential disadvantages, it is important to engage qualified professionals to analyse the suitability of your roof and perform the installation of the solar panel system.
Climate change is a serious issue, so let’s try to do all we can to live a more sustainable lifestyle. If you’re looking for a new home, you can gauge a property’s level of sustainability through PropertyGuru’s Green Score.
For more property news, content and resources, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section.
Need help financing your latest property purchase? Let the mortgage experts at PropertyGuru Finance help you find the best deals.
This guide was done in collaboration with Solar AI.
This article was written by Joanne Poh. A former real estate lawyer, she writes about property and personal finance and spends her free time compulsively learning languages and roller skating in carparks.

More FAQs about Solar Panels in Singapore

If you live in a landed property or condo penthouse, you can consider installing solar panels to reduce energy bills. While it typically takes 7 years to break even on installation costs, solar panels are often warranted for 25 years.

No, but do make sure you comply with existing rules and apply for permission when necessary.

On average, the cost of solar installation in Singapore ranges from $10,000 to $50,000.