"By using solar energy, we are not going to be able to be self-sufficient," said Dr. Liu Thai-Ker, chairman for the Centre for Liveable Cities and a former head of Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority and its Housing Development Board. "But we'll try to use solar energy to supplement the energy supply as much as possible," Lui said on the sidelines of the EnergyFuture event.
He noted the island nation has few other renewable energy options besides solar as it doesn't have strong winds or currents or large rivers, while due to the country's small size, nuclear power is too dangerous.
The declining price of installing and using solar power has led many analysts to expect it could effectively compete with and displace fossil fuels, as well as weighing on the finances of traditional electricity distributors.
Read More Solar power's 'a decade-long story': Pro
Solar could reshape the market within 10 years, Bernstein Research said in an April note. Many companies are also stepping up solar installations. Wal-Mart, for example, has said it wants to switch to 100 percent renewable power by 2020.
"Great ideas, but they're incomplete without another technology," Oxburgh said. "You're really talking about fancy batteries. And they exist, but they're really too expensive for general application."
To be sure, analysts expect the batteries, and lower prices, are coming. In the April report, Bernstein said it expected moves by distribution utilities to protect their revenue from solar's incursions would make battery storage more cost effective compared with the grid.
Read More Why Asia's utilities may welcome solar disruption
"A failed battery technology in the auto sector (too hot, too heavy, too rigid a form factor) might well be perfect for the home energy storage market," Bernstein said then.
Others also expect the batteries will become cheaper.
"Historically, EV (electric vehicle) battery prices were high because they were customized to large formats, with limited production runs, making each battery much more expensive (per kWh) than the smaller models used to power consumer devices," Barclays said in a note last month. But with electric carmaker Tesla bundling cheaper laptop cells into batteries large enough to power vehicles, it reaped production efficiencies and brought prices down, it noted.
"The power required to operate an electric vehicle can power the average home for 2-3 days," Barclays said.