Surprise! The cost of solar panel installation in Singapore is actually pretty reasonable. That said, there are several key factors that may result in a higher installation cost. The cost of installation and solar panels vary from project to project and roof to roof. Solar installers also have different prices and packages for a full system installation.
Now, let’s first talk about the common factors that may affect your installation cost.
Factors that affect Solar Panel Installation Cost
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Type of Solar Panel
There are 3 main types of solar panels: Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline and Thin Film. The type of solar panel that you’ll go for will often depend on your roof and whether the system suits your needs.
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. It’s important to consider your energy usage to determine the level of efficiency you’ll require your solar panels to have. The higher your energy use, the more efficient you’d need your solar panel to be. Alternatively, you can also install more solar panels to match your energy needs and maximise your cost benefits.
Size of the System
The size of your system is limited by the installable area available on your rooftop. To have a rough estimate of the required size of your solar system, we recommended collating your electricity bills from the past 3 months and determining an average household energy usage. Note: Many households are now consuming more electricity during COVID-19. A comparison to pre-COVID electricity bills may be helpful in getting a more accurate measure of your usual energy usage.
Also, it would be good to estimate your electricity usage during the day. Solar panels generate electricity during the day. One way to maximise your solar cost savings would be to optimise your solar system size to meet your daytime energy needs. That said, did you know that you can also sell excess electricity generated back into the grid in Singapore? Considering this, you could also choose to maximise your roof space for solar panels — even if they may not consume all the solar electricity generated during the day.
Roof Pitch, Type and Material
Your roof’s material and type will influence the placement of your solar panels. Solar panels can be installed on almost all roofs. That said, there are certain roof types that require additional materials for installation — such as racking and mounting systems.
Your roof’s material will determine the mounting mechanisms needed for your installation. In Singapore, roofs are usually tiled or made of metal.
During tiled roof solar installations, roof tiles are usually removed and replaced with stainless steel brackets. This is due to the fragility of clay, slate and concrete tiles which may break when handling the roof. The stainless steel brackets are screwed onto rafters and before your roof tiles are re-installed into their original spots. The rails will be mounted onto steel brackets to leave space between the panel and the roof, enabling constant air circulation to cool the solar panels. Drilling is usually necessary, to ensure that the hooks are embedded well.
As for standing seam metal roof, no drilling is required and mounting clips can easily be fastened to the seams of your roof. This makes the installation process a lot easier and saves you cost. It also means that, should you need to do so, your solar panels can be easily removed from your roof.
Note: For steep roofs, a longer installation process is often to be expected. This is because installers have to be extra meticulous to ensure that your solar panels are properly secured. Steep pitches will also often require extra manpower and this can result in additional labour costs.
Other Solar Panel Cost in Singapore
Most solar panels come with a 20 to 25-year warranty, while inverters usually have a 5-year warranty which covers a 1 for 1 replacement of any physical defects on the equipment.
Although solar installers will often provide a contract or package with maintenance fees covered for a certain duration of time, installers do not usually provide free lifetime solar maintenance since most solar PV systems can last for 20 to 25 years.
This means that if your solar panels need a replacement within the warranty period, you may still have to pay your installer for an ad-hoc check or for physical maintenance. Maintenance and cleaning cost for your solar panel system usually range from $200 to $400 per visit in Singapore. Your installers can both clean or wash your solar panels and conduct tests on your inverters and breakers.
Almost all solar systems these days also come with a free online monitoring platform or mobile app that you and your installer can use to track the performance and efficiency of the solar system. However, a well-installed solar system will also reduce the chances of you needing any physical maintenance.
Waterproofing or Reroofing
Water intrusion is a risk that may occur after installing your solar PV system. The installation process for tiled roofs may require drilling to set up rails that hold your solar panels. These drilled holes may result in rainwater accumulation that can cause leakages.
If your roof is relatively old or poorly maintained, we advise waterproofing your roof before you begin installing solar panels. After all, your solar panels are likely to sit on your roof for the next 25 years. Waterproofing procedures will add to your budget. However, they are a worthy investment to prevent any possible leakages after installation.
Overall Solar Panel Cost Estimates
Here’s a rough estimate of the standard system cost for landed homes in Singapore. Remember that installation costs also vary dependent on your roof type.
So, how much does it actually cost to install solar panels in Singapore? The cost depends on your house type, roof size and size of your solar system. This can range from S$10,000 to S$38,000.
Terrace Houses: The usual system size would be around 20 solar panels with a 5 kWp system. The installation area would be approximately 30m2. The cost of your solar panel system would be S$10,000 and is sufficient for average energy consumption of 890 kWh per month.
Semi-detached Houses: You may be able to install around 40 solar panels or a 10 kWp system which will be able to cover an average monthly energy consumption of 1,182 kWh. This will cost around S$19,500 for the entire system.
Bungalows: Rooftop solar systems for bungalows would usually be around 80 solar panels and a 20 kWp system, with an installation area of 120m2. The average cost to install solar panels for bungalows would be around S$38,000 due to the high number of panels and large installation area.
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This article was first published on 9 October 2020 and last updated on 8 June 2021 to include additional details.
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