Due to its geographical constrains, Singapore has a limited renewable energy option. It is considered not feasible to define renewable energy targets from hydro, tidal and wind resources. However, Singapore is located in the tropical Sunbelt with good irradiance that makes solar generation as the greatest potential to be developed.

Singapore aims to become a regional leader in renewable energy research and research development. In 2014, Singapore announced their official target to raise the adoption of solar power up to 350 MWp by 2020 and 1 GWp beyond 2020

Since 2008, the total installed capacity of solar photovoltaic systems has increased rapidly. In Q3 2018, the total installed capacity of solar photovoltaic reached 183.4 MWp. Majority of the PV systems is installed by the non-residential sector (95.1%). The Singapore plan of 350 MWp installed solar photovoltaic by 2020 would be around 5% of the projected peak electricity demand and would be a significant increase from the 19 MWp of installed capacity when the announcement was made. Below figure shows the updated capacity of solar photovoltaic in Q3 2018 (Figure 4).

Singapore's total installed capacity from grid-connected solar photovoltaic (Q3-2018)

  • Residential (174.9 MWp)
  • Non-residential (8.6 MWp)

Source: SP Power Grid Ltd in Singapore Energy Statistics 2018

According to the data provided by International Energy Agency, total electricity generated from solar photovoltaic in 2015 is around 64 GWh or almost doubled than total generation in 2014.

As a small island and restricted geographical condition, Singapore does not have a decent renewable energy potential except for solar power. Nevertheless, with extensive market experiences in semiconductor industry, photovoltaic is expected to be the main focus of renewable energy market in Singapore. The projected cooperation with Norway’s Renewable Energy Corporation ASA (REC) plans to build the largest integrated solar manufacturing complex.According to the EMA, Singapore is not adopting Feed-in Tariff (FiT) system because that mechanism distorts the energy markets and increases costs for consumers. Hence, it is important to price energy correctly and send the right price signals to both consumers and investors.

Instead of subsidies, Singapore has taken proactive steps to introduce regulatory enhancements to facilitate the entry of renewable energy when such technologies become commercially viable. The Government’s support for renewables also comes in the form of funding for Research & Development to develop capabilities within the industry

Importantly, the support for research and development of renewable energy technologies is available e.g. Experimental Power Grid Centre (EPGC) has been established. The facilities allow studies on performance of conventional and renewable technologies in the mini-grid.

Singapore offers a range of favourable tax incentives to all industry sectors, including the renewable energy industry. The Singapore Productivity & Innovation Credit offers tax deduction/allowance and cash payout to encourage research and development in green innovation. It provides 400% tax deduction on the first SGD 400,000 of qualifying R&D expenditure for each year of assessment, and 150% on expenditure in excess of SGD 400,000. From 2013, the businesses are allowed to convert up to SGD 100,00 of the qualifying expenditure into a non-taxable cash payout at the rate of 60%.

In May 2008, the Singapore Economic Development Board launched the SGD 20-million Solar Capability Scheme to help companies with installing solar systems in new private commercial and industrial buildings. The eligible buildings must be certified with minimum Green Mark Gold Plus rating by the Building Construction Authority (BCA) and the minimum solar system installed should be 150 kWp. The solar project developers can obtain financial up to 40% of the project cost, capped at SGD 1 million per project.