An Alternative to Oil

Opinion piece by SunPro Energies

Amidst all the fluctuation in the oil industry, perhaps one thing is clear: the oil market is extremely volatile.

It hinges on demand and supply, futures contracts as well as government intervention. By and large a commodity, the outlook of the oil market seems inconclusive.

As the world internalizes the unexpected, and inevitably unprecedented, changes in our society, we are given an opportunity to invest in an energy portfolio that yields high returns in a sustainable way. There are enough reasons to conclude that investing in solar energy is a stable move to make.

It makes financial sense in the long run

The cost of producing electricity is generally measured by the long-run average cost, also known as the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). The average cost of power for solar energy is 6 — 8 cents per kilowatt-hour. For oil to be as price-competitive, the price of oil has to drop to approximately $15 per barrel. As SunPro Energies is writing this, the cost is approximately 20 USD per barrel.  

Besides, the upfront fees take into account system installation, consultation and maintenance fees — that, which is usually offset within five to eight years; and insured for a total of 25 years. The remaining years are then ‘cash cow’ years where the owner receives full savings with minimal maintenance costs.

The Centre on Global Energy Policy writes that solar power stations produce at zero marginal cost, making the upfront costs fully transparent.

Most will enjoy the environmental and financial benefits for at least 20 years — an option that the usage of oil can never provide.

It remains stable in this increasingly volatile society

As the world continues to fight against the coronavirus, we are all made aware of one thing: the world is an increasingly volatile and unexpected place. And it will continue to be.

Deloitte reported in its 2019 study that the increase in severe weather events, be it hurricanes and floods to wildfires, has caused longer duration outages and growing demand for resiliency.

As a nation that relies heavily on exports for oil, we must bear in mind that there is a second chance to produce our own resources. Noting the challenges of our land space and intermittent sunshine, solar switch still remains one of the nation’s priority. That is why solar experts have to enter the scene and oversee installation and maintenance.

In the solar industry, new technologies are emerging as well. Research is underway for energy storage solutions to mitigate the intermittency of solar, and technical innovation regarding photovoltaics technology is in the pipeline. With various stakeholders getting onboard, the solar industry is looking to shake things up.   

Future incentives may increase as more public and private sectors switch to renewables

In the latest joint statement, the EMA and JTC said that solar energy is one of the ‘key switches’ for Singapore to create a cleaner, affordable and more reliable energy future. In EMA chief executive, Ngian Shih Chun, own words, ‘Singapore will increase solar adoption.’

This move is proof that national and large-scale projects are underway to move our people in this direction.

The recent 2020 target has been met, allowing for 60,000 new households to be powered by solar energy. This is cause for celebratory but let us remember that there are a total of 1.37 million households in Singapore.

Still, there remains lots of opportunities and runway for to go solar. Currently, solar energy only contributes to 1 percent of the nation’s total energy mix. Apart from buildings, other platforms such as purifiers and roads can similarly tap on solar to power electricity.

We create a safer and cleaner future 

Recovering from the economic slash is real, prudent and imperative. But we have to realize that this future recovery must be resilient and healthy to weather storms ahead.

Climate breakdowns remain so ever turbulent and lethal, so it is at this historic moment that we set the tone for the next generation.

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven notes, ‘The urgent question facing us now is how to make sure that any future recovery builds a safe, resilient and healthier economy that can withstand future shocks and avoid climate breakdown. We need to build that recovery on clean, affordable renewable energy.’

As we all brace ourselves for what is to come, may we remain hopeful that change is still possible.

Solar energy, we believe, is a viable solution that we can take today. Sustainability is at the heart of all economies — if you can hold it out for the next generation, you are holding it out today as well.

Here at SunPro, we believe that sustainability is necessary.

We believe switching to solar energy is the mediator between environmental and financial costs. If you’d like to enquire more about solar systems, feel free to reach out to us here.

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