Big boost for solar power

Big boost for solar power

THE Government's solar energy push is hotting up, with solar panels to be installed at places such as the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints by the end of 2017.

Another 900 HDB blocks will also get solar panels, taking the total to almost 2,000, or about a fifth of all blocks here.

The energy generated at HDB blocks helps to power lifts and lighting in common areas.

The increase comes under a tender called by the HDB yesterday, the first to consolidate multiple government agencies' demand for solar-panel installation.

It is for a capacity of 40 megawatt-peak or MWp, making it the largest solar leasing tender in Singapore to date, the HDB and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) said in a joint statement yesterday.

The HDB will take up about four-fifths of the capacity.

The rest will be taken up by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and national water agency PUB, with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to be installed at eight sites.

The five MHA sites are Tuas Checkpoint, Woodlands Checkpoint, Home Team Academy, Airport Police Division and the MHA headquarters at New Phoenix Park.

For the PUB, solar PV systems will be installed at Changi Water Reclamation Plant, Bedok Waterworks and WaterHub.

The tender closes on Aug 14 and is estimated to be awarded in the fourth quarter of the year. Installation is expected to be finished at the end of 2017.

This is the first tender to be called under SolarNova, a programme spearheaded by the EDB to lead demand for solar energy.

The scheme encourages government agencies to come together to tap solar power. This government demand is then meant to spur the growth of the solar industry in Singapore.

The aim is for solar power to contribute 350 MWp to Singapore's energy system by 2020, or about 5 per cent of projected peak electricity demand.

Increased adoption of solar energy will create opportunities for innovation in smart energy grids and energy management, said EDB executive director for cleantech Goh Chee Kiong.

"This initiative will strengthen Singapore's position as the leading clean-energy hub in the region," he said.

More tenders will be called under SolarNova over the next four to five years.

With HDB acting as the Government's central procurement agency for solar panels, agencies with smaller demand can enjoy solar energy at a lower cost, thanks to economies of scale.

The HDB has procured about 55 MWp of solar power so far, excluding the latest tender.

By the end of this month, about 250 HDB blocks islandwide will have solar panels, with installation works in progress for another 772 blocks. With the latest tender covering another 900 blocks, almost 2,000 HDB blocks in total will be ready to harness solar energy by 2017.

By 2020, the goal is to have solar panels at 5,500 HDB blocks - more than half of all blocks here.

janiceh@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 6, 2015.
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