Surprise! Solar installation is actually pretty affordable, however there are several key factors that may result in a higher installation cost. Cost of installation and solar panels vary from project to project and roof to roof. Solar installers each have their own price points and packages for a full system installation.
First, let’s talk about the common factors that may affect your cost.
Type of Solar Panels
There are 3 main categories of solar panels – Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline and Thin Film. Selection of which type of solar panels to fit onto your rooftop is determined by your rooftop and whether the system characteristics are suitable for you.
Price-wise, Monocrystalline solar panels are more expensive due to their high efficiency and aesthetic value. On the other hand, Polycrystalline solar panels are cheaper but of lower efficiency. Thus, it is important to consider your energy usage to determine the level of efficiency you require your solar panel to have. The higher your energy usage, the more efficient you would need your solar panel to be. Alternatively, you would have to install more solar panels to match your energy needs. This will be optimal in maximising your cost benefits.
Size of the System
The size of your system is limited by the installation area available on your rooftop. To best decide on the size of your system, you will want it to be sufficient to meet your monthly electricity needs. To estimate your required system size, it is recommended to collate your average electricity bills of at least the past 3 months to find out your household energy usage.
Also, it would be good to estimate your electricity usage during daytime. Unless you have battery storage, your solar panels will only produce sufficient electricity to meet your electricity needs during daytime. Thus, it would be optimal to ensure that your system size is maximised to fulfil your daytime energy needs.
However, as many households do not fully utilise all their electricity in the day, homeowners are more inclined to maximise their roof solar system to generate electricity. In Singapore. the excess electricity generated can be sold back into the grid, bringing in extra cost benefits.
For residential buildings, here is a rough estimate of the standard system cost.
If you live in a terrace, the usual system size would be around 20 panels with a 5 kWp system. With an installation area of approximately 30m2, the average system will cost $10,000 and is sufficient for an average energy consumption of 890 kWh.
For semi-detached houses, it would usually require 40 panels and a 10kWp system to cover an average monthly energy consumption of 1,182 kWh. This would cost you around $19,500 for the entire system.
Bungalows would require the installation of 80 panels and a 20kWp system, with an installation area of 120m2. Due to the high number of panels and large installation area, the average cost of the system would be around $38,000.
Curious to find out how much a solar system might cost for your house? Let us help you with it. Our online solar assessment tool allows you to draw your roof space and enter your electricity bills for a personalised recommendation and cost estimates of a solar system for your house. Try it out now!
Roof Pitch / Type & Roof Material
The material of your roof and type of roof that you have will influence the placement of your solar panels. While solar can be installed on almost all roofs, there are certain roof types that require extra materials for installation such as racking and mounting.
If you have a steep roof, it would require greater skill and time as the installation process would need to be extra meticulous. The steep pitch will need extra manpower to handle and this might result in an increased labour cost, on top of the installation cost.
Additionally, the material of your roof will determine the different mounting mechanisms needed for your installation. The most common type of roofs in Singapore are tiled, metal and concrete roofs.
For tiled roofs, the tiles are usually removed and replaced with stainless steel brackets. This is due to the fragility of clay, slate and concrete tiles and the possibility of breaking them when handling the roof. They are screwed into rafters before re-installing the tiles back into their original spots. The rails will be mounted onto steel brackets to leave space between the panel and the roof. To enable constant air circulation, a solar mounting system is used to bind the solar system to the frame of the roof. Drilling is usually necessary, to ensure that the hooks are embedded well.
On the contrary, if you have a standing seam metal roof, your installer might not have to drill holes into your roof as the mounts can easily be bind to the seams of the roof. But if your metal roof is corrugated, drilling will be required.
Other Additional Costs
Although most solar installers will provide a contract or package with maintenance fees covered for a certain duration of time, not all installers provide free solar maintenance. If any maintenance is needed, you may contact your installer for ad-hoc checks. For physical maintenance, average charges range from $200 – $400.
Waterproofing or Reroofing
Water intrusion is a risk that may occur after installing your solar panel system. After inspection of your roof, at times, your solar installation may require drilling to your roof. These drilled holes may result in rainwater accumulating in it, causing potential leaks.
So, if your roof is relatively old or poorly maintained, it would be good to consider waterproofing your roof. Otherwise, you can consider re-roofing portions of your roof that the installation will be carried out on or a complete roof replacement if your roof is in a bad condition.
As solar panels have a long lifespan of more than 20 years, doing roof maintenance and renewal works before installing your solar panels will be a safe bet. These procedures will add on to your costs, but would be a good investment to improve the conditions of your roof and prevent any possible leaks after installation.
Remember to always check for any additional charges in your contract or package before proceeding with the installation. Also, contacting several installers to enquire about your roof and the proposed costs will allow you to widen your options and consider the benefits of each installer.