Posted: 24 January 2013 1441 hrs


Another 80 HDB residential blocks in Punggol Eco-Town will be solar powered.

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has awarded a tender to lease three mega-watt-peak solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for the blocks.

The tender attracted keen competition from the industry, with a total of 13 bidders, compared to the first Solar Leasing project in 2011 which only garnered three bids.

Under the tender, solar system developer Sunseap will design, finance, install, operate and maintain the solar PV systems.

Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council will have a service agreement with Sunseap to pay for the solar power generated and used, at a preferential rate of up to 5 per cent discount off the retail electricity tariff rate.

Installation works are scheduled to be completed by 2014.

HDB is currently the largest stakeholder in the installation of solar PV system in Singapore.

To date, HDB has committed a total of S$15 million for the installation of solar PV systems for 175 blocks of flats. This is equivalent to powering the energy needs of 1,800 4-room flats for a year.

With the second solar leasing project, HDB has moved a step closer to the aim of developing Punggol Eco-Town as a net zero energy town by 2016.

Dr Cheong Koon Hean, HDB’s chief executive officer, said: “Punggol, as Singapore’s first eco-town, serves as a ‘living laboratory’ to test new ideas and technologies in sustainable development.

“The expansion of our solar PV installations through solar leasing is in line with the second thrust of HDB’s ‘Roadmap for Better Living’ — to develop sustainable towns.

“Solar technology has been given an extra boost with our largest tender ever under the Solar Capability Building Programme which aims to test-bed solar PV technology in 200 public housing blocks by 2015.

“The scheme will help enhance the industry’s capabilities and test the feasibility of implementing solar technology on a wider scale when it becomes more cost effective.”

In a blog post, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said Singapore, being in the tropics, should potentially be a great user of solar energy.

He said although solar energy technology is still expensive, the economics are getting better every day.

Mr Khaw added that people should experiment, with the government providing financial incentives to help spawn more pilots.

– CNA/al