Photovoltaic Systems in Malaysia

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With the ever increasing environmental awareness and concern, many countries are starting to find solar energy as a viable alternative source of energy. One such country is Malaysia, where the government has taken major initiatives to make the use of solar energy widespread. The effort here is to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reduce reliance on imported oil. The focus is on developing new solar energy technologies that can be used not only in Malaysia but also in other countries with similar environmental concerns. To this end, several research and development institutes in Malaysia have been working relentlessly on developing new photovoltaic (PV) systems that can be deployed both in households and in industries.
The first institute is the Malaysian Advanced Manufacturing and Research Institute (MARDI). Located in Kuala Lumpur, MARDI is one of the prominent research and development institutions in Malaysia. The Institute has been instrumental in developing a number of innovative PV manufacturing facilities that have helped set the pace in the industry. A recent development is the development of a photovoltaic manufacturing plant that will produce thousands of PV cells for a wide range of photovoltaic products. It is estimated that more than a million households in Malaysia have installed solar power systems to harness renewable energy sources like the sun. With the availability of a huge variety of photovoltaic cell manufacturers in the country, it has become easier for the average homeowner to select the right one for their home. Many companies now offer package deals that enable individuals to pay per module, which in turn enables them to pay only for the product they want. By leveraging on these rebates, people can purchase sufficient quantities of solar power panels to meet their needs. While these developments have been helpful to the industry, it is imperative that the government supports the growth of the industry as well. In countries like Malaysia, where the state is slow to establish an industrial base, the government must take a proactive role to support the photovoltaic sector. By encouraging private sector investment in the system, the Malaysian government has a double opportunity to not only stimulate the economy, but also improve its environmental profile. The increasing demand for electricity has resulted in a flurry of developments in the industry. There are now several manufacturers that have put up large power generating plants, or plants with a high capacity that can provide electricity to entire cities. However, there is a problem. These electricity generating plants require a lot of land. If no changes are made to the electricity rates in the country, these power plants will not be able to sustain themselves, leading to a rise in prices. For countries that face increasing demands for electricity, they have two options: either build more power plants to meet the need, or lower their electricity rates. Although building more plants is an effective solution, it can consume a lot of resources and raise the cost of doing business. Lowering electricity rates through subsidies is however a more favorable option than having a power plant built, as this method reduces the burden on the government. A significant factor in reducing electricity rates is through the establishment of low-cost electricity supply. With the implementation of a photovoltaic system in Malaysia, the government can provide incentives to residents who opt for the use of electricity generated by solar energy. This encourages more households to use solar energy, resulting in cheaper electricity bills. As these households are responsible for a higher share of the bill, the government grants them rebates when they make their monthly payments. In effect, these households are able to offset part of the cost of the photovoltaic system, with the rest being met from cash refunds from the government. Another important way to reduce electricity prices in Malaysia is through the use of energy efficient appliances. By installing new, energy-efficient equipment in houses and offices, one can greatly reduce the electricity bills that they pay. It is estimated that the installation of new appliances can account for up to 15% of a household’s overall electricity costs. With these prices being so high, it is encouraging for many households in Malaysia to take advantage of this opportunity to save money. The combination of lower electricity bills and reduced need for electricity generated by fossil fuels means that the country’s electricity rates will be lower, which in turn helps reduce pollution.

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