Singapore sets new energy goal: Solar power to meet 4% of total needs by 2030

When the 2030 target is met, there will be enough solar energy to meet the annual needs of nearly 350,000 households.

Singapore steps up alternative energy by feeding solar power into general grid
Sun Electric's Chief Executive Officer Matthew Peloso (R) walks along rows of rooftop solar panels, operated under the company's SolarSpace energy retail programme at a factory in Singapore February 29, 2016. Reuters

Singapore will produce at least two gigawatt-peak (GWp) of solar energy by 2030, as part of its ambitious plan to put in place a reliable and sustainable alternative energy supply. Chan Chun Sing, the minister for Trade and Industry, said on Tuesday the city state is on track to reach the 350 megawatt-peak (MWp) target by 2020.

When the 2030 target is met, there will be enough solar energy to meet the annual needs of nearly 350,000 households. With that, the share of solar energy will meet about 4 percent of Singapore's total electricity demand. Currently, solar power meets only less than 1 percent of the country's energy demand.

"If we can imagine, every of our high-rise buildings, the walls and even the windows can become a solar collector ... This will fundamentally change how much solar energy Singapore can collect," the minister said, Channel News Asia reported.

Speaking at the Singapore International Energy Week on Tuesday, the minister said the two GWP target will meet about 10 percent of peak daily electricity demand today. Singapore has already laid out an ambitious plan to create a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy supply by 2050.

Though Singapore has made big strides in the development and transformation of its local energy sources, more still needs to be done in preparation for the next wave of change and transformation, the minister said in the opening remarks at the summit.

The country needs to adopt the "four switches" approach to meet these evolving challenges, he said. The 4 switches to power Singapore's Future are Natural Gas, Solar, Regional power grid and Low carbon alternatives, the minister said. "This approach requires the diversification of Natural Gas and finding more innovative and efficient ways to generate power from it, as well as accelerating Singapore's adoption of Solar Energy. The remaining two switches will comprise tapping on regional Power Grids and investing in emerging Low-Carbon alternatives," the minister said.

Singapore Pixabay

Singapore will also deploy 200 megawatts (MW) of energy storage systems beyond 2025, the minister said, as more energy storage systems will be needed to keep the grid stable and resilient. Even as there is going to be a higher reliance on solar, the country has only less than one MW of energy storage systems currently.

"In order to cater to the peak demand, much resources will be required to build the extra infrastructure capacity. But if we can use energy storage solutions to balance the peak and trough demand, that will save the infrastructure costs for us," the minister said.