SOLAR AI FAQS – PROPERTY OWNERS
Frequently Asked Questions
The process of sourcing for solar quotations can be intimidating. At Solar AI, we want to ensure that going solar is as easy as possible for everyone. By using Solar AI, you will be able to enjoy all of the following benefits.
- The best rates in the market: We serve as the sales engine for our solar partners, helping them to reduce costs and in turn have preferred rate arrangements with them to offer you the best prices. We often offer quotes to our clients that are lower than those sourced externally.
- A hassle-free, effortless process to get solar: Our online solar assessment tool and quote request form allow you to get digital quotes directly from recommended solar installers completely remotely. We recommend the most suitable installers based on your needs, and allow you to effortlessly compare their offers.
- A neutral advisor: We represent you and serve as an advisor to help you get the best solar deal. We are also here to answer questions that you may have about solar and frequently negotiate prices or terms with solar installers on your behalf.
Solar AI serves as a sales and marketing engine for our solar installer partners, and we've proven to reduce their cost of sales by up to 30%. We help them to generate sales leads at a significantly lower cost in return for preferred rate agreements for our customers. For successfully closed projects, our partners pay us a small marketing fee.
You get a lower cost of solar, our partners get more business, we make a small margin when we bring you the best deals successfully, and we get our planet to cleaner energy. A win-win-win-win scenario.
Solar panels convert sunlight into energy, so your solar panels will likely generate little to no energy at night. At night or on cloudy days when you consume more energy than is generated by your solar panels, your home will automatically draw power from the electricity grid. You wouldn’t notice anything at all!
Most roofs are suitable for solar panels. However, roofs that are overly sloped or complex would not be the most ideal for solar panel installations. Some examples of complex roofs include ones that face many different directions or have dormer windows. This might leave very little space for solar panel installation and/or make installation challenging. In which case, this will likely incur greater costs and might be less economically feasible.
For HDB: Unfortunately, you are not allowed to make alterations or install solar panels on your roof.
For Condominium: Condominium blocks are shared living spaces. Therefore, it is likely that there will be restrictions put in place that prevent you from installing solar panels. However, if you’re the owner of a penthouse and would like to get a solar panel installation, here are some important pointers to consider:
- You will need to first get approval from your condominium Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST)
- You will not be able to export or sell any excess electricity to the grid
- The solar system installed will be considered a “hobby” system and you may have to be liable for any risks to the condominium
If you have ongoing or upcoming renovations that involve any roof works, it might be the best time for you to consider installing solar! Solar installers will be able to utilise the same scaffolding that is already set up, allowing you to negotiate for a lower installation cost. Your installer will also be able to incorporate the solar panel’s electrical/cable provisions into your property’s electrical system more easily while your property is being built or renovated.
No, your solar panel installation is not tied to your OEM retailer contract, and you can install solar at any time regardless of your contract end date. Some solar homeowners who generate more solar energy than they consume may choose to switch back to SP Services in order to make a greater profit. They can choose to switch at any time after the end of their existing retail electricity contract.
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. In cases where having a large solar panel system may not be possible or is not ideal, it might make sense to downsize the system on your roof. Check out our guide to rooftop suitability to find out more.
Pricing & Costs
The cost of installation will vary based on several factors. The most important being the number of solar panels being installed. The cost of a solar installation in Singapore ranges from S$10,000 to S$50,000. That said, a good estimate will be S$20,000 as most residential solar panel systems are around 10 kWp (S$2,000/kWp). Besides the number of solar panels installed, roof material, orientation and complexity are other factors that can affect installation costs.
There are no hidden charges involved in a solar panel installation. The cost that you will incur will be included in the solar installation proposal. That said, there can occasionally be separate charges for scaffolding that may not be included in your solar installation proposal. This is because solar installers generally have to conduct a site visit in order to assess scaffolding costs. Do clarify this with your solar installer beforehand.
For residential solar installations, several specific solar bank loans in Singapore allow you to pay zero upfront costs for your solar panel system installation. For larger commercial and industrial solar installations, solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) help you to enjoy the benefits of solar without having to foot any initial installation fees.
Absolutely not! In fact, installing solar panels on your rooftop would increase the value of your home. Having a functioning solar panel system in place would likely be appealing to potential buyers as it would help them to reduce electricity expenditure when they move in. What’s more, solar panels can last also for 25 to 30 years making them a worthwhile investment.
Yes! You will be able to enjoy rebates for the export of excess solar energy generated by your solar panel system with SP Services. If you are not currently buying electricity from SP Services, you can still benefit from selling excess electricity back to the grid. Find out more about the schemes that you can enjoy when switching to solar in our guide to the top solar benefits in Singapore.
If you use SP Services, you will be paid at the standard electricity tariff rate minus grid charges (~25% of the cost of electricity) which would be between S$0.16 and S$0.18/kWh. If you are with an Open Electricity Market (OEM) retailer, the price that you will be able to sell the excess energy generated by your solar panel system at will be based on the Wholesale Uniform Singapore Energy Price (USEP). USEP rates are determined half-hourly and fluctuate but generally ranges from S$0.09 to S$0.11/kWh.
The average payback period for a residential solar panel system is about 7 years. However, this largely depends on the size of your solar panel system, which part of the day you use the most electricity and how much electricity you use overall. Households who have a large solar panel system and use a lot of electricity, especially in the daytime, can see payback periods of as short as 4 to 5 years.
Solar PV systems are designed to be extremely durable and last for at least 30 years. Most solar panels have a warranty period of 25 to 30 years, and inverters have a warranty period of 5 to 12 years. Inverters are usually expected to be replaced at least once throughout the lifetime of the solar system. Some systems have been known to last for close to 40 years now!
Solar Installation Process
A residential solar panel system installation usually takes 7 to 10 days and is also dependent on weather conditions.
Before you begin, do ensure that you have conducted a site visit with your selected solar installer and agreed on a finalised solar design and installation contract.
The following are the steps involved in a solar panel installation in Singapore.
- If required, scaffolding will be set up to access your rooftop
- Solar panels and inverters will be delivered to your property, and you will need to provide safe storage for the equipment before installation works begin
- Mounting frames for the solar panels will first be placed on your roof. On metal roofs, these are usually attached directly without any penetration. For tiled roofs, roof tiles will be removed temporarily in order to secure the mounting frame before they are returned to their original location.
- Once the solar panels are fixed onto the mounting frames, the panels are then wired to a solar inverter
- The solar inverter is then connected to your property’s distribution board, which is also connected to a meter and to the electric grid
- Finally, solar installers will conduct testing and quality assurance, as well as handle any required paperwork for the solar panel system
In Singapore, proper licensing is also required to set up a solar panel installation, as well as, registration with SP Services. Let us help you get in touch with qualified solar installers that will assist you with your solar panel installation.
A solar panel system usually consists of the following:
- Solar panels
- Solar inverter
- Solar panel mounting structure
- Electrical connectors and wires
- Alternating Current Distribution Board (ACDB)
- Monitoring system
- Electrical meter
Solar inverters are weatherproof and can be placed both indoors and outdoors. However, they have to be placed in a location that allows for a good Wi-Fi connection. Your solar installer will likely survey your property and recommend the best location to place your solar inverter. Placing your solar inverter outdoors will ensure minimal disruption during installation and future maintenance. However, it is often recommended to place your solar inverter indoors. While locating your solar inverters indoors may occasionally result in some excess heat being generated in your home, keeping them indoors in a cooler environment can help to improve their efficiency by 1 to 3%, as well as, extend their durability.
Your solar panel system will be grid-tied. This means that it will be able to channel electricity generated by your solar panels to your home during the day. At night when your solar panels are generating a lot less energy, your home will draw electricity (purchased from your electricity retailer) from the grid automatically.
Roof waterproofing is done in some cases to prevent roof leakages. However, this will depend on your roof’s condition and material. A site check will usually be conducted by your solar installer prior to your solar panel installation to determine if alterations are required.
Solar Panel System Maintenance
Solar panel systems generally require very little maintenance. Solar panels are made from durable tempered glass built to withstand adverse weather conditions (last around 25 to 30 years) and will rarely ever require maintenance.
However, no different from air conditioners, we generally encourage homeowners to schedule a preventive maintenance once every 1-2 years. Maintenance fees are charged on a per-trip basis, and often reasonable at around S$300 - S$500.
Both your solar panels and inverters have their own warranties. The warranty period for most solar panels is between 12 to 25 years. Within this period, your solar installer will replace your solar panels for free if they contain any defects or have efficiency levels that fall below their guaranteed rates. On the other hand, solar inverters are more complex. Therefore, they usually have shorter warranty periods of 5 to 12 years. However, as solar inverters are installed close to your home’s distribution board, they are easily accessible and can be swapped out when required.
Warranties on your solar panels and inverters are registered with the manufacturers. However, you can rely on your solar installers to contact the manufacturers and settle any replacements covered by the warranties on your behalf. On the off chance that your solar installer is no longer in operation, you may have to contact the manufacturer on your own.
Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient cell technology in the market and we strongly encourage property owners in Singapore to select monocrystalline panels for the highest return on investment.
Other considerations property owners may want to take into account include: the size of panels, aesthetics (standard v.s. all-black panels) as well as efficiency ratios and warranty terms.
In most cases, no. A solar panel system in Singapore often involves a grid-tied setup that does not require batteries since excess solar energy generated can be sold back into the grid.
We do not recommend installing batteries at this point as they are expensive (they can add $10-20K to your system costs) and troublesome to maintain. However, installing battery-ready inverters will allow you to easily include batteries in future when prices fall.