Going solar is excellent for the environment and for your wallet. That said, with big-ticket purchases like solar, the decision to go solar can be difficult and may require some consideration. We totally understand! To help you ease your worries and feel more confident about taking the next step in your solar journey 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 great too! To kick off this series, here’s an interview that we conducted with solar homeowner Julius Tan.
Julius — currently a Modelling and Analytics APAC Lead at Shell — decided to go solar 3 years ago in June 2018. He has a 10kWp solar panel system that cost him around S$20,000. Having been in the solar industry and equipped with an understanding of the cost-saving benefits of solar, he made the decision to maximise his roof space for his solar panel system. His setup has 27 solar panels and he’s been able to see savings of more than S$180 on his monthly utility bill, even generating a significant excess and earning $130 from selling back solar to SP Group! Take a look at a snapshot of his utility bill for September 2020 below.
We spoke to him to find out more about this solar experience and everything that led up to his decision to go solar.
Questions and Responses
Reasons for Going Solar
What made you decide to switch to solar?
“The payback period for a solar panel system installation is less than 10 years. With that in mind, the economic value was obvious to me”.
Did you find out more about the solar installation process from friends/family who had solar setups? What feedback did you receive and how did it affect your decision?
“Yes, I heard about how easy it was to set up and maintain a solar panel system. I was also told that it helped them to reduce utility and electricity bills quite significantly every month, so I decided to go ahead with the solar panel installation”.
Searching for a Solar Installer
How was the process of finding a suitable installer like and how did you decide on which solar installer to go with?
“I got a recommendation from a friend in the solar industry. After which, I also did some reading on my own and realised that the price of a solar installation was within an affordable range”.
Why did you eventually choose to go ahead with Cutech Group for your installation?
“I found that their price was reasonable. They’re also experienced in installing both commercial and residential solar panel systems in Singapore”.
Pro tip: Cutech Group has been in the solar space for 7 years. The company’s in-house team has installed over 50,000 solar panels across more than 110 solar projects in Singapore, Malaysia and India. They‘re one of the top solar installers in Singapore with a solar PV capacity of completed projects in the country exceeding 22MWp to date!
Solar Installation Process
How long was the solar installation process?
“The installation process was pretty quick! I think it took only about 3 to 5 days if I recall correctly. It was smooth and there weren’t any major hiccups”.
What were your biggest concerns during the installation process?
“I was mainly concerned with potential roof integrity and waterproofing issues. The installer explained that they’d secure the solar mounting racks on the roof structure in a way that won’t penetrate the waterproofing, so that was okay with me. One other concern that I had was that, in the case that we sold the house before getting the payback, we’d not be able to enjoy all the monetary savings”.
After Installing Solar
Did you notice a reduction in your electricity bill?
“Yes, we ended up generating more power than we used, so some of it was exported to the grid and we got paid for it. That helped offset a significant portion of my monthly electricity bill”.
After a few years with your solar installation, looking back, did the concerns that you previously had about solar end up being unfounded?
“I was initially worried about roof leakages, but the solar installer was very careful and made sure that there was no penetration into my house’s roof membrane during the installation process. I have not experienced any roofing problems to date. I’ve not moved either so I’m still benefiting from monthly cost savings on my utility bill”.
How frequently have you done maintenance on your solar panel system the past 3 years? If so, and what has been done?
“I haven’t done any maintenance on my solar panel system. The system seems to be performing well so far”.
Is there anything that you would have done differently now that you have been through the entire process?
“I would have considered increasing the solar inverter DC-AC ratio to generate more power. Given that my house’s electrical system has an AC limit and that solar panels are inexpensive these days, I might have done this to increase the energy generated while keeping within the AC limits”.
Pro tip: DC-AC ratio is the ratio of installed DC capacity — your solar panel system — to a solar inverter’s AC power rating. Oversizing a solar array with a DC-AC ratio that’s greater than 1 will allow you to generate more energy. That said, this is also provided that the DC generated is below the solar inverter’s rating so that no energy is wasted.
Tips and Takeaways
Julius’s responses and experience were highly insightful, and we’d like to thank him for taking the time to speak with us! Here’s a quick summary of some of the important takeaways from our interview with solar homeowner Julius.
Tip #1: Make sure to speak to your solar installer if you’ve got any concerns before your solar panel installation process. One of the most common concerns is the potential damage that a solar setup can cause to roofing. Ask your solar installer about how your solar panel system will be set up. They should be able to answer any questions that you have about your installation.
Tip #2: Consider your current electricity usage before installing solar. Depending on your roof capacity and current electricity usage, maximising your roof space for a solar setup may increase the amount of electricity that you can sell back to the grid each month. This equates to greater earnings and savings. Not too sure about how to calculate your potential savings? Use our online solar assessment tool to get an instant estimate of your home’s solar potential!
Tip #3: Speak to friends and family who have gone solar and find out more about their solar experience. They might be able to recommend great solar installers for you to go with! Don’t know anyone who’s installed solar on their rooftop? Fret not! Speak to us and we’ll link you up with the best solar installers for your home!
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!