Sunseap gets $85.8m green loan from DBS and UOB for largest clean energy project in Singapore

Solar panels on Housing Development Board rooftops in Jurong. PHOTO: SUNSEAP GROUP

SINGAPORE - Clean energy solutions provider Sunseap Group has obtained $85.8 million in green financing for its project to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems across more than 1,200 Housing Board blocks and 49 government sites.

The project, called SolarNova 4, is the largest clean energy project in Singapore to date, Sunseap said on Monday (Nov 1).

Sunseap's green financing framework is aligned to the International Capital Market Association's Green Bond Principles 2018, the Loan Market Association's Green Loan Principles 2018 and Asean Green Bond Standards 2018.

This framework is utilised in the loan extended by DBS Bank and UOB.

Both banks have extended green financing to Sunseap in the past.

SolarNova 4, which has a capacity of 70 megawatt-peak (MWp) and potentially up to 102 MWp, is estimated to generate 96,775 megawatt-hours (MWh).

This is equivalent to powering up to 20,400 four-room HDB flats and potentially offsetting more than 68,583 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum.

Social media giant Facebook had also previously signed a virtual power purchase agreement with Sunseap to purchase renewable energy credits from the excess energy generated from solar panels in the SolarNova 4 project.

The excess solar energy will support the tech company's operations in Singapore, including Facebook's first custom-built data centre in Asia.

Sunseap chief financial officer Keith Lim said: "Global warming remains a clear and present danger to life on the planet and Sunseap will continue to ramp up our capabilities and do our part to ensure a clean and green future for current and future generations."

Sunseap won the tender for SolarNova 4 in 2019, and installations began last year.

The SolarNova programme is a whole-of-government effort led by HDB and the Economic Development Board (EDB) to promote and aggregate demand for solar PV systems to achieve economies of scale and drive growth for Singapore's solar industry.

HDB has committed a total solar capacity of 330MWp for 6,901 HDB blocks and a solar target of 540MWp by 2030 under the programme.

DBS group head of SME (small- and medium-sized enterprise) banking Joyce Tee said the bank is committed to helping local enterprises develop capabilities and seize opportunities related to sustainability megatrends, such as the rapid adoption of renewable energy and decarbonisation solutions.

"We believe that the green sector has huge potential for Singapore's economy, and will play a critical role in helping Singapore realise a lower carbon future," she said.

UOB head of group commercial banking Eric Tham said: "The launch of the SolarNova 4 project is a powerful demonstration of how sustainability objectives can be incorporated into business strategies, a trend that is on the rise."

The bank will continue to look into helping more companies and individuals adopt sustainable practices, he added.

Separately, a UOB spokesman said the bank's target is to build a sustainable finance portfolio of $15 billion by 2023.

"As at end-June 2021, we provided about $13 billion in sustainable financing," said the spokesman. Sustainable financing refers to green loans, sustainability-linked loans and loans for green certified buildings.

As part of efforts to tackle climate change, Singapore has set out plans under the national Singapore Green Plan 2030 to halve its 2030 peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and to achieve net zero emissions "as soon as viable" in the second half of the century.

Energy and urban development player Sembcorp Industries also launched a green financing framework earlier this year.

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