The Straits Times reported yesterday that for large rooftop systems in Singapore, the cost of electricity from solar power is now on a par with ordinary electricity tariffs. Public agencies like the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and private firms like Sheng Siong are starting to use the solar panels on a big scale, with new installations announced this year.
The cost of solar-produced electricity has fallen by over 70 percent in recent years and now stands at US$0.70 per watt. The HDB has already committed to installing solar cells on over 300 blocks of public housing flats in areas such as Ang Mo Kio, Punggol, Jurong East and Buangkok.
We may now be at a very exciting inflection point in the world’s supply of energy. Solar power is only going to get cheaper as companies learn how to make solar cells more effectively. Not only are silicon-based solar panels becoming cheaper, scientists are now working on alternative materials such as perovskite. This compound has been making waves worldwide for its low cost and high efficiency. It can potentially lead to solar cells becoming five times cheaper.
Could this be the beginning of the end for fossil fuel-powered electricity? Perhaps even petrol-powered cars? I wouldn’t bet against it. Perhaps there is hope for Mother Earth after all.
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