How integrating solar systems into residential buildings is important for both the environment and homeowners’ financial wellbeing
Everyone is talking about it – renewable energy is taking the prime seat in multiple levels of public and private policy discussions as the global act to phase out fossil fuels becomes a major priority. Malaysia is no stranger to such discussions; having pledged to reach net-zero carbon by 2050, the country is seeking more sustainable sources of energy to replace its heavy dependence on fossil fuels.
Of the many alternatives considered, solar power plays a pivotal role. One of the cleanest energy sources, it is highly affordable and accessible, especially for a developing country like Malaysia. In recent years, many commercial and industrial premises installed solar panels and adopted energy-saving systems to power operations, but it is crucial to note that emissions from residential solar energy consumption have been on the rise as well.
Evaluating Residential Energy Consumption
Globally, energy demand has seen a steep incline, as the population continues to grow and income levels and standard of living rise, allowing for easier access to and exploitation of electricity supply. To date, the burning of fossil fuels contributed at least 80% of global energy consumption, accounting for a high amount of carbon emissions and thus contributing to the rapid change in the climate. Malaysia contributes a significant amount to this share – at least 90% of the country’s energy consumption is from fossil fuels.
Source: Our World in Data, The World Bank
One would observe that energy efficiency has improved in recent years, and argue that such achievement would address the growing demand against a limited supply of unrenewable resource. Yet, the exponential rise in energy consumption is hardly matched by slow growth in efficiency – there is only so much energy utility one can reduce from the current socioeconomic conditions that works to feed hungry, production-driven economies.
The COVID-19 pandemic also played a prominent role in the recent changing patterns of energy consumption. As more of the working population is given the flexibility to work from home, it inevitably causes more electricity to be used within residential units. A case study of approximately 1,500 households in Malaysia observed that there was home electrical appliances were utilised at a significantly higher frequency during lockdown periods. This new normal and discovered attempt of having productive outcomes from remote working conditions will likely stay if infections continue to threaten societal health, thus likely to increase residential energy consumption.
Surely pledges to significantly reduce emissions by leaders worldwide would accelerate the movement towards green and cleaner energy? While there is promise to such commitments, the Energy Transition Index sees only 13 out of 115 countries that have made consistent improvements in the past 10 years of energy transitioning. It was quoted in the report that “while there has been encouraging progress in areas such as rising levels of investment and political commitment, progress has been far slower in translating ambitions into actions and in realizing the transformation of the energy system structure itself.”
As a developing country, Malaysia has to aggressively push for faster adoption of cleaner energy in both the private and public sphere if it wants to meet its net zero emissions target. Individually, one can play their own part in reducing personal carbon footprint – homeowners in particular can embrace sustainable practices to achieve collective milestones in thenet zero agenda, and that includes shifting household consumption away from fossil fuels to cleaner alternatives such as residential solar.
Why a Residential Solar PV System is a Good Investment
There are plenty of benefits to shifting to a more sustainable and eco-friendly energy supply.Installing a home solar system for example, is a significant step to lowering domestic carbon footprint while earning long-term financial gains. Below are some of the main benefits of having a solar PV system installed in your home.
The Environmental Benefits
It is no mystery that shifting to solar power reduces personal environmental footprint. While rooftop solar for residential homes may be limited to a roof’s surface area, a little goes a long way. It is also estimated that a typical residential solar PV system can save three to four tons of carbon emissions annually – that equates to at least 15,000km driven by an average passenger vehicle. Essentially, the carbon footprint of generating 1 kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity from solar energy is very much less than any electricity generated from coal, gas, bioenergy and even hydropower.
Another important environmental advantage of adopting residential solar is the lack of air pollution it generates. As Malaysia is highly dependent on non-renewables such as coal and gas, air pollution generated from burning said resources is relatively high. The burning of these fossil fuels releases high levels of air pollutants that increases the risk of chronic illnesses and other serious health conditions, particularly respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Principal air pollutants such as sulphur and nitrogen oxides also contribute to the formation of smog and acid rain – both phenomena lead to environmental degradation such as soil erosion, habitat loss and biodiversity loss from the increased toxicity of air, water and land.
The Financial Benefits of Residential Solar
Owning a personal solar PV system in Malaysia also brings financial benefits from both public and private programmes implemented to encourage renewable energy adoption. Some government-led programmes and schemes include:
The Net Energy Metering (NEM 3.0) scheme allows residential households to offset their electricity bills with any excess energy generated from their solar PV system, potentially saving up to 80% in utility bill payments per month.
Notwithstanding government incentives, many local financial institutions have also rolled out solar PV loan plans that allow for 0% interest installments, thus providing convenient financing to purchase a residential solar system.
By encouraging the use of renewable energy in home, it brings us a step closer towards practicing more environmentally-conscious habits. This implies that while having a residential solar PV system reduces carbon emissions and save household expenditure, it also highlights climate change and socioeconomic challenges consumers face today – an unconscious rise in awareness of how important it is to have clean, accessible, affordable and ethical energy production and consumption for the masses.
Self-assurance in Adopting Solar PV
It is important to start any transition towards cleaner, more cost-effective energy by understanding and assessing your home’s current electrical consumption. For the layman, it may be difficult for one to grasp how a solar PV system functions without professional guidance.
This is where Progressture Solar can help bridge the gap. Our services as a cleantech energy solutions provider are tailored to making the transition to renewable energy as simple as possible. As a strong advocate for greener energy, Progressture Solar welcomes the opportunity to make buyers proud and confident in their decision to reduce their households’ carbon footprint.