Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) will streamline regulations and funded research in order to support the installation of solar energy instead of providing subsidies and rebates, which may “distort the energy markets”, says MEWR Minister Masagos Zulkifli.
Mr Masagos responded the question regarding solar energy raised by Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Son Group Representation Constituency (GRC) Louis Ng during the debate of Committee of Supply on Tuesday (4 March).
During the debate, Mr Ng asked whether the government will provide incentives and rebates to increase solar deployment on rooftops as well as consumers who have plans to use solar energy.
He proposed that the government should incentivise solar energy as it is the most viable clean energy source in Singapore.
However, his proposal was turned down, with Mr Masagos noting that the energy market will “distort” if subsidies such as rebates are given.
“Pricing energy right will encourage the growth of renewable energy in a commercially viable manner and incentivise consumers to use electricity efficiently, avoiding wasteful consumption,” Mr Masagos explained.
Instead of giving rebates, he said the higher deployment of solar will be supported by improving the current regulations and funded research.
Responding to Mr Ng’s request of deploying more floating solar panels at reservoirs, Mr Masagos highlighted that the Public Utilities Board (PUB) will work on installing more floating solar system in 2020 and 2021.
He said, “This year, PUB will deploy two 1.5 MWp floating solar PV systems at Bedok and Lower Seletar Reservoirs. Next year, PUB will deploy the world’s largest single floating solar PV system of 60MWp at Tengeh Reservoir.”
He further stated that the floating solar system deployed will generate sufficient power for the energy of all water treatment plants at local reservoirs.
“With this, Singapore’s waterworks will be one of the few in the world to be 100 per cent green,” added Mr Masagos during his speech.
In addition, he also mentioned that PUB is putting effort to improve the energy efficiency of NEWater and desalinated water production.
Mr Masagos added that the generation of solar energy within MEWR will be ramped up.
In an effort to become exemplary in optimising the water-energy-waste nexus, MEWR is set to generate sufficient energy from waste incineration and solar photovoltaic systems to meet the ministry’s needs, especially in the water production and projected food production.
On the other hand, in line with Mr Ng’s call for a fully solar-powered Singapore, Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah also proposed to expand the use of solar panels.
She said that solar panels not only complement the buildings aesthetics, but the photovoltaic panels could also capture energy from the sun and act as shelters with their large flat surfaces.
“We may be a small dot on the globe, but we are heating up twice as fast as the rest of the world as a result of the urban heat island effect,” said Ms Lee, calling for the government to develop initiatives for green buildings.