Credit programme makes solar panels more accessible for property owners

Mr Rob Khoo, managing director of SolarPVExchange, says he has seen customer enquiries double in number since the launch of UOB's credit card programme. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Wanting to do her part for the climate while saving on her electricity bill, Ms Ho Hui took advantage of a new scheme which allows owners to buy and install solar panels for their property.

The U-Solar Programme, an initiative launched in November last year by UOB Bank, is aimed at helping home and business owners go green.

Property owners can opt for interest-free instalment payments over 36 months when they use the UOB credit card.

Ms Ho, who is in her 40s, had 59 solar panels installed at her West Coast landed property this month.

The panels can generate up to 90kWh of energy in a day, with each panel producing 1 to 1.5kWh of energy.

While she declined to say how much she paid, The Straits Times understands that it would typically cost $50,000 for such a set-up.

Ms Ho said she wanted to do her part by switching to renewable sources of energy, with "solar power being the most practical option, given the abundance of heat and sunlight in sunny Singapore".

The solar panels were installed at her home over two months by SolarPVExchange, one of Singapore's pioneer solar system integrators.

For landed properties, the energy savings are estimated to be between 20 and 50 per cent of the electricity bill, said Mr Rob Khoo, managing director of SolarPVExchange.

"Being able to pay by credit card allows me to defer my monthly payments, which could be accumulated, then translated into points and rewards," said Ms Ho.

Businesses can also tap the programme, the bank added.

The U-Solar Programme also partners with other home-grown solar companies, including SolarGy and Sunseap Group.

Mr Khoo told The Straits Times: "Financial institutions have been stepping up their investments and lending activities to support the green movement in recognition of the fact that climate change has become a defining factor in a company's long-term prospects."

He said in Singapore, banks have recently been granting green loans, for example, in financing construction projects with clear environmental benefits.

These include certified green buildings and projects that improve resource efficiency and generate renewable energy.

Mr Khoo said the company has another home installation scheduled in early March, the second project since the programme was rolled out.

He added that there has also been a doubling in the number of customer enquiries since the launch of the UOB credit card programme.

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