Sunflower Dreams: Can Solar Panels Power Singapore's Energy Needs?
Singapore's quest for abundant solar energy faces challenges like rooftop limitations and energy storage, but a diverse energy mix offers hope.
Picture Singapore as a lush, energetic garden, where each energy source is a colourful and unique flower. Among these flowers, solar panels glisten like sunflowers in the height of summer. So, how many of these "sunflowers" do we need to plant to cover Singapore's energy needs? That's the million-dollar question, folks!
In a nutshell, Singapore needs about 50 TWh of electricity every year. Solar panels provide 200 kWh/m² per year in Asia. Buckle up, because we're going to need to cover 303 km² with solar panels - that's 40% of the territory. It sounds huge, but don't worry! It's less than the area occupied by buildings in Singapore. Not bad, right?
You might think that by installing solar panels on half the roofs, we would generate enough electricity to meet annual demand. But alas, some challenges stand in our sunlit path:
The orientation of panels is crucial, and many roofs aren't ideally oriented.
Roofs often have obstacles, such as chimneys and antennas (gotta catch our favourite shows!).
Some flat roofs are already being used for other installations (like secret gardens and BBQ spots).
Part of the roofs are constantly in the shade (thanks to neighbouring skyscrapers).