The Housing Board's (HDB) plans to more than double its capacity for solar power by 2030 tie in neatly with Singapore's pledge to ramp up its overall solar capacity by more than seven times from current levels by that year. The HDB, as the biggest driver of Singapore's solar push, must spearhead the country's efforts to cut back its carbon emissions as part of global efforts to fight climate change. The new target, which will involve installing solar panels across more HDB blocks, is being aided by advances in technology which allow more solar energy to be generated from the same amount of space on HDB rooftops.
What is innovative is that solar power in a high-rise environment is possible, given that the norm has generally been to tap solar power either via solar farms or low-rise homes and buildings. The HDB's move attests to the serious need to fight climate change wherever and however it can be done. It is unrealistic to expect the country to make an overwhelming, immediate and final break with dependence on traditional sources of energy, any more than other nations can. However, what is required is a concerted policy awareness of, and response to, an existential challenge. The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources cautions that the build-up of carbon dioxide, among other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, makes the weather hotter and raises the sea level around Singapore. In that context, the ministry notes that carbon emissions made up around 95 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in 2014. These emissions cause more heat to be trapped in the atmosphere, leading to climate change, a global bane.