Solar energy, which comes from the sun, has long been introduced as an alternative way of producing electricity in Malaysia, thanks to the sunny weather we get year-round.
Large companies such as Intel Malaysia utilises solar energy to generate electricity for its buildings and Sime Darby Property is looking into installing solar panels on its landed properties. Sime Darby Property is a locally based property developer that is known for its sustainable townships such as Serenia City, Putra Heights and Battersea Power Station in London.
Malaysians are also showing more interest in installing solar panels as a way to save on electricity. We explore how solar energy works and the costs of installing solar panels in Malaysia.
How Electricity Is Distributed To Homes In Malaysia
From July 1, 2023, households that use high levels of electricity of more than 1,500 kWh (equals to a monthly bill of at least RM708), will need to pay a surcharge of 10 sen/kWh. This means that they will experience a minimum monthly increase of RM187 (25%) in electricity bills.
This is expected to affect 1% of domestic users. Fortunately, the Malaysian government does provide electricity subsidy, which benefits most households, so they will not be affected by the tariff adjustment.
Malaysia relies mostly on coal and natural gas resources to generate electricity. To generate electricity, natural resources such as coal are required and burned to release energy. However, the price of coal is quite high, affecting the costs of electricity bills.
Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) is the single provider of electricity In Malaysia. TNB owns power plants where energy is generated. There are two types of power plants – thermal and hydro plants.
In thermal plants, coal and natural gas resources are used to generate electricity. Hydro plants capture energy from water flowing from a height.
The electricity is then carried and distributed to our homes through the National Grid, a network of high-voltage cables.
The Costs Of Installing Solar Panels In Malaysia And Set Up Requirements
Solar panels leverage on sunlight, a natural resource that is accessible to all, to generate electricity for both landed and high-rise properties.
There are a few things to consider when calculating the costs of installing solar panels at your home. Firstly, the size of your home and capacity required determine the price of the installation.
The larger your home, the more capacity is needed. For each kWp of the solar photovoltaic (PV) system, it will cost around RM4,000 to RM6,000. An average home requires four to eight kWp, costing you an average of RM20,000 to RM40,000.
Below is a table by TNB showing the suggested solar PV size for households with differing electricity bills.
Another thing to consider before installing solar panels is the condition and shape of the property’s roof which can affect the complexity of installation and can incur further costs. There are 157 companies in Malaysia including Solarvest Energy Sdn Bhd and Progressture Power Sdn Bhd that provide one-stop services including consultancy, design, supply, installation and testing.
Typically, the property needs to have ample space on the roof and within the property for storage of equipment. Then, the roof needs to also be in good condition i.e., sturdy and with zero leakage. For installation at strata residences, you may have to consult the management body of the property.
A check on the internet found that Progressture Solar charges installation costs as below:
|Company||Types Of Houses||Number Of Solar Panels||System Capacity (kWp)||Cost
|8 – 12||4 – 6||16.000 – 24,000|
|12 – 18||6 – 9||24,000 – 34,000|
|18 – 26||9 – 13||34,000 – 46,000|
How Much Can You Save On Electricity With Solar Energy
Solar panels are installed on the roof of a home where it’s most exposed to sun rays. When the sun rays hit the panel, it converts the photons in the sun into direct current electricity.
An inverter will be set up in your home to convert the direct current electricity into alternating current that can be used. When you’re using electricity from the solar panels, you will be using less electricity from the TNB national grid, which results in a lower bill.
Electricity bills are calculated using the tariff system below:
Calculation Of Monthly Electricity Bill
For illustration purposes, if a person uses 350kWh a month, this is how the bill will be calculated:
(Consumed electricity x First 200 kWh rate) + (Consumed electricity x Next 100 kWh rate) + (Consumed electricity x Next 300 kWh rate) = Electricity Bill
(200 x RM0.218) + (100 x RM0.334) + (50 X RM0.516) = RM102.80
Instead of using electricity from the TNB grid, you will be using electricity from the solar panels first. If there’s excess, it will be exported back to TNB.
Can I Sell Excess Electricity Generated From My Solar Panels?
Excess electricity generated from the solar panels can be sold back to TNB through a bi-directional system. Under the Net Energy Metering (NEM) system, the excess electricity can be turned to credit to offset your electricity bill.
Homeowners stand to enjoy a reduction of 10% to 15% on their bills. You can use TNB’s calculator to estimate how much you could save with solar panels.
For instance, an owner of a semi-detached home pays a RM430 electricity bill every month.
For a home of that size, a capacity of 7kWp would be required. If each kWp costs a median price of RM5,000, he or shewould need to pay around RM35,000 to install solar panels at his or her home.
Using TNB’s calculator, after installing solar panels, the bill would be reduced to RM45 per month with a yearly savings of RM4,619. The property owner would be able to offset the solar panel installation costs with the savings on electricity bills in around seven years.
Any Additional Advantages And Disadvantages To Installing A Solar Panel?
Installing solar panels will help one save on electricity bills in the long run and safeguard against inflation in the future. In addition, solar energy is a sustainable and environment-friendly method of generating electricity.
Although installation costs have decreased over the years, it will still require a relatively large sum of money. Plus, households will still have to rely on the National Grid for electricity, especially at night.
Solar panels are at their most optimal condition when under direct sunlight, but they can still generate electricity during cloudy or even rainy days, albeit at a lower rate. Rainwater washes dirt on the panels, improving their efficiency after.
Featured Image Credit: Sime Darby Property
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