DIY power: Man hangs solar panel outside Punggol flat

DIY power: Man hangs solar panel outside Punggol flat
PHOTO: Lianhe Wanbao

[UPDATE June 19] The solar panels placed outside the Punggol flat are no more.

The flat owner has since removed the solar panels after they were found to have been installed without authorisation, HDB told AsiaOne on Friday (June 19).

Installations outside the flat are not permitted as they may pose safety risks to members of the public and compromise the structural integrity of the building, HDB explained. 

Before installing things outside their units, flat owners must seek approval from their respective town councils.

It is an alarming sight — a large solar panel hanging precariously outside an eighth-floor flat in Punggol.

The two-metre-long panel is secured on one end to the unit's clothes-drying rack, and the other end to the air-con ledge of a room on the opposite side.

Residents living in the area told Lianhe Wanbao they are worried that the panel might fall and hit someone, and they also questioned whether the DIY project is allowed.

The solar panel is suspended floors above a common area where metal bins residents often use for burning paper offerings are located. 

A male resident, who declined to be named, told the Chinese evening daily: "I'm worried about strong winds dislodging them because I don't know if they're secured properly."

Another resident living in the block opposite the unit spotted the panels as early as half a year ago but thought that it was a reflecting board for warding off birds.

Meanwhile, industry sources said that the panels seen in the photos are likely to weigh between 10kg and 20kg, and commented that they may not stay in place for long.

Besides the long solar panel, five other panels are also placed on the ledges outside one of the rooms.

When reporters spoke with the homeowner's wife, she revealed that he had installed the solar panels about three months ago.

He had lost his job as an engineer shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic and turned to using the panels to save on utility bills for their family of five, she said.

The woman declined further comment.

Since 2008, the Housing Development Board (HDB) has been installing solar panels on the rooftops of estates as part of a drive to generate more clean energy and help combat climate change. The power generated is normally used for the estates' common services such as lifts, lights, and water pumps.

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