Not long ago, East Coast GRC MP Ms Cheryl Chan shared the exciting news that by the end of 2023, 100 per cent of the HDB blocks in Fengshan will have solar panels installed on their rooftops.
Ms Chan, also the GRC’s sustainability champion, also added that these solar panels will be used to supplement the power for the public utilities in the block.
It is, no doubt, one small step for Fengshan and one giant leap for Singapore.
That is because as Singapore moves forward with its Green Plan, solar energy will play an increasing role in our energy supply and enhance our energy security.
And the Party’s Action for Greener Towns initiative is also here to play its part.
Solar energy in Singapore
Being a small country, alternative energy sources available to our neighbours are, unfortunately, not feasible to us, noted the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS).
Hydroelectric power is out of the question because we do not have a river system with fast-flowing water throughout the year.
Nuclear power is too dangerous due to our high population density and land scarcity.
As for wind power, it is unworkable since our naturally sheltered harbour lacks the necessary wind speed to spin the turbines to generate electricity.
What does that leave us but solar energy?
After all, Singapore is a tropical island drenched in sunshine, making solar energy a potential renewable energy option.
As such, the solar panels we see at Fengshan today will become an increasingly common sight around Singapore.
Indeed, under the Action for Greener Towns initiative, over 3,000 solar panels have been installed to power HDB blocks.
Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten SMC), Coordinating Chair of PAP Town Councils, said of the Party’s efforts to promote sustainability: “PAP Town Councils want to take our actions further, to incorporate sustainable practices that will create real tangible benefits to the communities we are looking after. These plans we have unveiled show how every action can make a difference and improve our way and quality of life.”
And besides high-rise rooftops, the PAP Government will install more solar panels at other places too. Tengeh Reservoir, for instance, is now home to a floating solar panel system the size of 45 football fields.
When all our solar panels are up and running by 2030, it will allow Singapore to deploy at least 2 gigawatt-peak of solar energy annually.
In layman’s jargon, that makes up 3 per cent of our electricity needs, enough to power more than 350,000 households a year!
Why is this significant?
While importing all our energy needs has served us well over the years, recent global events (i.e. Russia cutting off its gas supplies to Europe) have shown how energy supply can become a matter of warfare.
This has reinforced the need for countries to be self-sufficient, and Singapore is no exception.
Therefore, building up our solar energy systems is one of the ways Singapore can ensure its energy security and work towards building a low-carbon economy.
Energy saving tips
As we can see, energy is a fragile commodity, and its supply to Singapore is not infinite.
Therefore, conserving energy, like conserving water, should become second nature to us. In doing so, we will be able to play our part in mitigating climate change and save money at the same time.
The National Environmental Agency has since compiled a list of energy-saving tips to help get us started.
- Use a fan instead of the air-conditioning and save ~ S$441 a year.
- Don’t leave your appliances on all the time. Switch them off at the power socket after use and save ~ S$25 a year.
- Use a thermos flask to store hot water instead of boiling it several times a day. This can save you ~ S$348 a year.
- Switch off the storage water heater after use and save an additional ~ S$124 a year.
- Purchase energy-efficient appliances. Save around ~ S$303 a year using an air-conditioning unit with 5 green ticks instead of 2.
* All calculations are based on an electricity cost of S$0.299 per kWh of electricity
Who knew making such simple changes could shave S$1,000 off our electric bill! For more energy-saving tips, visit their website to find out more.
Cover Photo Credit: Cheryl Chan via Facebook/East Coast Town Council