UOB credit scheme makes solar panels more accessible

SolarPVExchange, led by managing director Rob Khoo (above), is one of Singapore's pioneer solar system integrators. The company has registered its first customer under UOB's U-Solar programme, launched last November.
SolarPVExchange, led by managing director Rob Khoo (above), is one of Singapore's pioneer solar system integrators. The company has registered its first customer under UOB's U-Solar programme, launched last November.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Programme allows property owners to opt for interest-free instalment payments

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 home and business owners to purchase and install solar panels for their property.

The U-Solar programme, an initiative launched in November last year by United Overseas Bank (UOB), 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 their UOB credit card to purchase a U-Solar package.

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

They can generate up to 90 kilowatt hours of energy in a day, with each panel producing 1kWh to 1.5kWh of energy.

She declined to say how much she paid, but 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 per cent and 50 per cent of the electricity bill, SolarPVExchange managing director Rob Khoo said.

"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.

IMPORTANCE OF GOING GREEN

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.

MR ROB KHOO, managing director of SolarPVExchange, on why financial institutions have a stake in investing in the green movement.

The U-Solar programme also partners other home-grown solar companies such as 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 that in Singapore, banks have recently been granting green loans, for example, to finance construction projects with 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 next month, the second project since the programme was rolled out. He added that the number of customer inquiries has doubled since the launch of the UOB credit programme.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2020, with the headline 'UOB credit scheme makes solar panels more accessible'. Print Edition | Subscribe