Solar is the solution to hefty electricity bills. That said, we also acknowledge that higher initial costs and concerns regarding roof damage can be why you might be hesitant to go solar. To help you ease your worries and better understand solar, we’ve spoken to various solar homeowners and gotten their responses to common concerns that we’ve come across. Over the next few interview pieces, we hope to convince you that going solar is a smooth and fret-free process. Cost savings are almost definite as well! After our previous interview with Julius, here’s the next interview in the series that we conducted with solar homeowner Adrian Tan.
Adrian — currently a Director at Adkel Solutions — installed his home’s solar panel system 1.5 years ago in August 2019. He has a 14kWp solar panel system that costs S$24,000. His setup has 37 solar panels and he’s been able to pay absolutely nothing for his electricity since getting his solar setup! In certain months, he’s even been able to generate excess energy and make a profit from selling energy back to SP Group!
We spoke to him to find out more about this solar experience and why he decided to go solar!
Questions and Responses
Reasons for Going Solar
What made you decide to switch to solar?
“Simply put, dollar and cents. I’d explored solar before but, at the time, I found out that a solar panel system required a solar battery to store the energy generated in the day to be used at night. The price of the battery added to the solar panel system’s overall cost and was too expensive. On top of that, solar panels were also not of the same quality as today and were not as reliable. Maintenance was also costly.
In 2019, I decided to explore solar again and found that solar panels are a lot more durable nowadays. They also have better energy conversion efficiency. What’s more, I calculated that and I would be able to fully recover the money spent on my system within just 7 to 8 years, so I thought that it was something that I should do”.
Searching for a Solar Installer
Why did you decide to go with PMCE for your solar panel installation and did you consider other solar installers?
“I did some research beforehand and shortlisted about 7 to 8 solar installer companies. After I got quotations from all of them, I proceeded to select 3 installers that had more competitive prices and contacted them to find out details about the specifications of the solar panels that they provide, along with other warranty details.
I also spoke to each of them to get a feel of whether they were knowledgeable about and experienced with solar installations. I rang up PMCE [from my 3 choices] and went down to their worksite to see how they worked. After speaking with and observing them, I felt that they were doing quite a good job and that made me feel comfortable so I didn’t explore the 2nd and 3rd options anymore and went with PMCE”.
Pro tip: PMCE is a locally-owned and operated solar company that specialises in residential solar installations. The company has completed more than 150 residential solar installations in Singapore and has received numerous positive reviews! They‘re one of the top solar installers in Singapore and pride themselves in offering highly competitive prices to allow customers to enjoy reasonable payback periods.
Did your solar installer conduct any site visits before the installation?
“Yes, initially our discussions were largely based on the information I provided them online. Subsequently, they did come down for a site survey just to make sure that they got the measurements correct because they’d used Google Earth to estimate the dimensions of my rooftop”.
Solar Installation Process
Did you have any concerns about the solar installation process?
“Yes, the number one concern was whether my solar installer will damage my roof because roof damage is a nightmare for a homeowner to handle. So, I asked if they could guarantee that they wouldn’t damage my roof and if they’ll be able to provide any assurances before the installation process.
After some discussion, a clause was added in my installation contract that provided me with a guarantee period where they’ll fix any roof leakages caused during the installation within 6-months”.
How was your experience with your solar panel installation process?
“My solar installer was very professional and customer orientated. The whole installation process was very smooth and my installer made sure that the installation process was done as fast as possible. Overall, everything was completed very quickly, and they didn’t create any mess and also tried to contain their work area to just upstairs. From what I recall the installation process took only 2 days”.
After Installing Solar
Did you notice a reduction in your electricity bill and was it what you were promised?
“I do experience significant monthly savings on my electricity bill and it’s almost what I was promised. The only thing to note is that the price of electricity did go up from the time of my installation.
Initially, I’d have a negative utility bill and I’d use the money to offset my water bill. But, now that the price of electricity has gone up, I’ll just break even most months. I don’t really get any extra money to offset my water bills anymore. That said, I am not too affected by the price of electricity going up because I would have needed to spend more on electricity if I didn’t have my solar panel system”.
How much savings do you enjoy with your system every month?
“Originally it was estimated to be about $230 every month. But, now that the electricity price has gone up, I believe I am probably saving about $260 every month”.
Take a look at a snapshot of Adrian’s utility bill for April 2021 below.
Looking back, would you have done anything differently before going ahead with your solar panel installation?
“Not really, but one thing that I may have considered would be to install more solar panels. But then again, even if I’d installed more panels, they would have been placed in areas of my roof that are shaded and the panels won’t be able to generate as much energy. So, I won’t be getting that much value for them anyway.
I think my current system is already the most optimal, there wouldn’t be a lot more incremental value even if I added any more panels”.
Have you had to do any maintenance on your solar panel system so far?
“Other than the software that I use to monitor my system getting cranky from time to time, there’s been nothing that I’ve needed to do. But, I think my solar panel system is due for a cleaning. I’ll probably just have to wash them down to remove any accumulated dust that might affect my panels’ efficiency.
That said, I’ve observed that the efficiency levels are still around the same as when I first installed my system. It’s probably because my solar panels are quite high up and with the rain often rinsing them, they don’t get too dirty. But, it’s always good to wash the panels so that efficiency levels are not affected”.
Did any of your initial concerns about solar end up unfounded?
“Yes, I’d say that they were unfounded. My solar installers did a good job. I would say that the staff at PMCE were very professional and were careful in the way that they handled my roof, so I was quite pleased with how they did the installation”.
Tips and Takeaways
Adrian was very forthcoming about his solar experience, and we’d like to thank him for taking the time to share his solar insights! Here’s a quick roundup of some of the important takeaways from our interview with solar homeowner Adrian.
Tip #1: Read up and do research on solar installers in Singapore before making your decision. Solar AI partners with nearly all of the most reputable solar installers in Singapore, and we’re happy to help you with this. Get started by using our online solar assessment tool to receive an estimate of your roof’s solar potential and installation cost, or reach out to us at email@example.com. We’ve also put together a list of the best solar installers in Singapore to help you out! Be sure to take the time to speak to them and make sure to select a solar installer that makes you feel comfortable, this can really determine if your solar experience is a positive one!
Tip #2: Consider rooftop shading before going ahead with your solar installation. Placing your solar panels under shade can affect their energy conversion efficiency — check out our article on rooftop suitability to learn more about how this works. Want to get a more accurate solar estimate (compared to a Google Earth estimate)? Use the Solar AI online assessment tool! We use geospatial analysis of satellite imagery along with big data and machine learning to get a more accurate analysis of your rooftop’s solar potential and potential cost savings. Our assessment tool will help you get a better idea of how large your ideal solar panel setup should be before going ahead with your installation!
Tip #3: Solar panels are much more durable than most property owners imagine. Apart from warranty terms of up to 25 years, they also don’t require much maintenance and are largely self-cleaning. Rain tends to help naturally keep your solar panel setup clean and reduces the need for regular maintenance.
Get an Instant Solar Estimate for your Home Now!
Whether you’re ready to install solar panels on your rooftop, or just wondering how you can benefit from solar, use our instant solar assessment tool to get an estimate of the solar potential of your property and find out how much you can save. At Solar AI, we combine geospatial analysis of satellite imagery with big data and artificial intelligence to provide you with reliable and accurate solar information so that you can make a better solar choice!