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Singapore hoping for a sunny outlook

Singapore’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are similar to that of Europe, and it imports all its fuel, which on paper makes solar power very attractive.

“There’s a lot of roof top space in almost any housing — why not have an array of solar water heaters?” said Yatin Premchand of the Singapore Environment Council.


But the truth is, because solar panels are so pricey, it is making people think twice before getting off the grid.

Solar power & technology has received ever increasing attention as oil prices soared to record highs during 2008 and the vast majority of Asian governments are under pressure to increase their efforts to counter global warming and climate change.

Singapore has recently attracted Norway’s REC to build the world’s largest solar manufacturing plant, a move which has seen the City – State very much in the public eye as far as the green energy sector is concerned. Singapore officials are hoping the sector will create 7,000 jobs by 2015 and add S$1.7 billion to the economy.

Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB), which looks to increase foreign investment, said the country would only use solar power when its price hit parity with the cost of buying it from the grid, which it said could happen next decade.

“Singapore is very much focused on the innovation know-how,” said Goh Chee Kiong, EDB’s clean tech director. “We would like to think we are in a good position to scale up very quickly.”

A recent pilot project in Singapore saw a handful of government housing blocks covered in enough panels to power lifts, lights and water pumps, but at a cost of S$600,000 for seven blocks.