The government should consider giving more attractive incentives for property developers to install solar panels in new homes as a step towards fostering the development of green buildings, a construction industry player said.
ATSA Architects' chief executive officer, AR Azim A Aziz, said the government through the 2013 Budget could introduce new incentives in place of present incentives given to developers for the use of green materials including solar panels that could meet the feed-in-tariff requirement.
"There is a lot more potential in feed-in-tariff, but not many people can afford to put up RM44,000, the initial setup cost, on their roof," he told Bernama in an interview today.
Although the price of solar panels has dropped more than 45 per cent in the last two years, the RM44,000 initial setup cost for 16 solar panels and supporting equipment is still considered high among common people, he said.
He said with Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association estimating 100,000 new houses to be built every year, any incentive to the developers could provide an immediate effect to the country's energy supply.
Azim said the feed-in-tariff, which is managed by Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA), is a good idea to encourage people embracing the green lifestyle.
He said a set of solar panels comprising 16 solar panels could
generate three kilowatt per hour (kWh) of electricity and with SEDA paying RM1.49 per kWh, this will give the owner a passive income of RM600 per month and around five years to break-even the initial cost.
"SEDA is offering a contract of 21 years, which means that the owner can have 16 years of passive income while living a green lifestyle," he said.
Aziz said another way to hasten the acceptance of feed-in-tariff is through banks which can provide the initial capital.
He said banks could provide loan schemes for purchasing solar panels and related equipment, similar to the hire purchase schemes for buying cars.
"Banks have to be readily involved to make sure the people can afford to place the solar panel at their homes," he said.
He said the schemes could be in the form of loans, hire purchase etc.
Aziz said with Malaysia strategically located under the sun belt, one of the best areas in harvesting the sun's energy, the country receives an average of 3.5 hours of sunlight every day making it a suitable place to implement solar-based technology.
Emphasizing on the importance of green lifestyle, he said as a developing nation, the population was growing and this would exert pressure and natural resources would become more scarce.
The population is estimated to double to 57 million people in 2090 when natural resources and even food are expected to be no longer plentiful.
"We cannot go on building as we did in the past or living as how we lived in the past. We must contribute to reducing green house gases and energy consumption over the years," he said.