The global economy has been in a comatose state, no thanks to the ravaging coronavirus pandemic. With the movement control order (MCO) and travel bans put in place in many countries around the world to curtail the widespread of the virus, there has been a shortage of labour, project delays, and disruption of supply chains.
According to Robbie McNamara, the National Renewable Business Development Manager at City Electric Supply, “People in the industry are exercising caution right now. Investors are holding onto cash, projects are being delayed, and that’s having a ripple effect down to the subcontractors.” Slow down in production and purchase is among the chief reasons why the renewable energy industry is experiencing such an unprecedented phase in its decades-long existence.
Even though the lockdown measures put in place have somewhat resulted in the decline of greenhouse gas emission, the halt in solar panels production has led to the unavailability of renewable energy to meet growing demand.
Also, based on data from the Helsinki-based Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS), “From an investment perspective, in March 2020 share prices of companies across the energy industry fell by more than 50% from their pre-COVID-19 prices. There is a strong consensus that green energy is the future emerging segment for the industry,” Sapianchai told OBG. “This is thus an opportunity for green funds and green investors to buy shares at a cheaper price.”
Utilizing green energy opportunities like an increase in investments in renewable energy such as solar can support post-COVID-19 economic recovery in Malaysia. According to the Global report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), it is shown that the renewable energy industry can boost economy revival post-COVID-19 by supporting global GDP gain of almost US$100 billion from 2020 to 2050.
The encouragement of the growth of the solar industry in Malaysia comes with massive socio-economic gains. An increase in investment in this industry is an opportunity to meet international climate change goals, create job opportunities, and boost economic growth. Investment in renewable energy will help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 70% by 2050. As a result, the world will have a clean and healthy energy system as opposed to what’s obtainable with the use of fossil fuels as a source of energy.
Currently in Malaysia, 8% of energy is generated from renewable energy, and the number is expected to rise to 20% by 2025. According to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), thriving RE technologies in Malaysia include solar energy, biomass, and hydroelectric. The Malaysian climate makes it a place for solar panel installation to thrive. Due to its geographic location, Malaysia experiences hot and humid. All year round, there is a generous amount of sunlight. In fact, the country receives an abundant amount of solar radiation throughout the year, with most places having daily solar radiation mean of 4.7e6.5 kWh/m2.
The solar market in Malaysia has a positive outlook post-COVID-19. The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) under the National Renewable Energy Policy and Action Plan, is targeting to achieve 2,080MW of renewable energy by 2020. Demand for solar energy is expected to rise as people are increasingly becoming aware of its benefits to the environment and economy. To show the growing acceptance of solar energy by the public, the Sustainable Energy Development Authority of Malaysia (SEDA), reports that out of 9,586 applications under its Feed-in-Tariff program, 9,406 solar PV applications were approved.
The CO2 released from the usage of fossil fuels is disrupting the global climate making the world a more difficult place to live. To reduce global warming, countries such as Malaysia, encouraged by the government, are turning to alternative sources of energy to keep socio-economic activities running and keeping the environment clean and safe.
Solar energy is 100% free of pollutants. It minimizes dependence on fossil fuels for electricity generation. Energy that powers the solar panels is directly from the sun. It is highly economical (as the solar system installation cost and panels are cheaper) and environmentally friendly to generate sustainable energy.
It is known that the pandemic has had a negative impact on the global renewables but how profound it is yet to be ascertained. Fortunately, measures are put in place to resuscitate the economy. Moreover, the establishment of the renewable energy policy by the government will help boost the economy, create jobs, and improve the environment.