Is Going Solar a Good Idea in Malaysia?

We all know solar energy is a fast-growing industry worldwide. In fact, the global solar energy market was valued at $52.5 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $223.3 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.5% from 2019 to 2026. The drivers behind this growth include increase in environmental pollution and provision of government incentives & tax rebates to install solar panels.

Needless to say, going solar can bring great help to our environment. If you’re wondering if you should go solar, the answer is Yes! But what about going solar specifically in Malaysia? Is it a good idea?

Well……Absolutely!!! Malaysia has various advantageous values in terms of developing solar energy and these factors make going solar a bright and sunny idea in Malaysia.

First of all, Malaysia has plenty of sun due to its location. Located in the equatorial region, our land is exposed to high levels of heat and solar radiation. Thanks to Malaysia’s strategic geographical position, we are blessed with natural tropical climate that gives us the opportunity to have a daily average of 4 to 8 hours of sunshine and daily solar radiation as high as 4500 kWh/m2 throughout the year.

As a country that receives high solar irradiance, it means we have a good potential in harvesting solar energy. Hence, solar energy has become one of the most potential sources of energy to be implemented in our country. The ability to increase our electricity generation from solar is due to the availability of sufficient sunlight and irradiance levels. The irradiance level of different towns in Malaysia is shown in the irradiance map, Figure 1.

Figure 1: Solar irradiance level of different towns in Malaysia.

With an estimated potential for solar generation of up to 6500 MW, Large Scale Solar (LSS) and rooftop solar is a good choice for solar deployment in Malaysia.

Besides the factor of strategic geographical location, consider also the factor of government initiatives and tax incentives. For starters, the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) Malaysia has implemented the Net Energy Metering (NEM) Scheme to encourage Malaysia’s Renewable Energy (RE) uptake. Currently, the NEM 3.0 program will be available from 2021 till 2023 with a quota of 500MW allocated. Under this scheme, homeowners can reduce energy bills by generating their own electricity through the use of a solar PV system and offset excess solar PV generated energy back to the grid on a “unit-to-unit” offset basis.

For commercial solar, on top of enjoying the benefits from the NEM 3.0 Program, companies that undertake qualifying green technology projects for business or own consumption are also offered double tax incentives. The Malaysian government has shown great encouragement and support to these “green” companies via the implementation of the Green Incentive Tax Allowance (GITA) as well as Capital Allowance (CA).

From the geographical perspective, our country is essentially blessed with a good generation mix of energy resources varying from conventional sources such as oil, natural gas, and coal to renewable energy resources from the likes of solar installations, hydropower plants and biomass. To curb the country’s over-dependency to specific fuel sources, there is a need to have a balanced fuel mix of gas, coal, and renewables. In short, it is especially apt for us to start making the switch to fully utilize the gift of strategic location as well.

From the perspective of incentives and rebates, our country not only encourages but also offers practical support for those who are interested in going solar. Programmes such as Feed in Tariff (FiT), Large Scale Solar (LSS) and Net Energy Metering (NEM) are all in place to boost our country’s renewable energy uptake. Likewise, the Energy Commission is also continually monitoring the development and progress of how renewables plus storage technologies can be commercially integrated into the system. It is now time to take the necessary actions to ensure the future sustainability for Malaysia.

So, is it a good idea to go solar in Malaysia?
We say YES!