SINGAPORE - Businesses and some home owners can now directly access solar energy from the national grid for the first time, under a new programme.
Under the programme, dubbed SolarRoof, power is harnessed from solar panels on the rooftops of government agency JTC Corporation's buildings, and will allow consumers to purchase this electricity even if the buildings they occupy are not equipped with solar panels.
The programme is run by JTC and solar energy retail company Sun Electric.
Existing solar leasing models usually only channel excess power to the national grid after the power has been used for common services or by home owners.
The official connection of JTC's first batch of SolarRoof properties to the national grid was done on Tuesday (July 24) at a media event, where Sun Electric also unveiled an online dashboard that allows users to track their energy usage. This shows, for example, which specific rooftop their electricity comes from and the amount of carbon savings.
Mr Mark Koh, JTC group director of facilities and estate management, said of the SolarRoof programme: "It is a catalyst and drives a different model where solar energy can now be purchased from the grid by anyone, anywhere."
More than 20 JTC buildings are expected to be connected to the national power grid by next year, producing up to 5MWp of solar-generated power, which can power about 1,250 four-room Housing Board flats.
The first SolarRoof buildings contributing solar energy to the grid include JTC Space @ Tuas Biomedical Park and Offshore Marine Centre.
Dr Matthew Peloso, founder and chief executive of Sun Electric, said there are currently 40 to 50 customers under the programme, which started testing in February 2016. Clients include French energy management company Schneider Electric, restaurant-booking start-up Chope and Japanese restaurant Kabuke.
Other customers include six home owners in Jurong, where households can choose who to buy their electricity from, under a pilot launch of the open electricity market.
The partnership between JTC and Sun Electric started in 2015, when the solar energy company was chosen for an Open Innovation Call.
Dr Peloso said that the cost to install 5MWp of solar panels is about $5.6 million and the company expects revenue of about $600,000 yearly. JTC will earn about $2.7 million from renting out roof spaces to Sun Electric under a 15-year contract.
Currently, more than 95 per cent of Singapore's grid energy comes from the burning of natural gas.
Though natural gas is considered the cleanest form of fossil fuel, its combustion still contributes to the production of greenhouse gases.
Under such clean energy projects, renewable energy from the sun would reduce Singapore's reliance on fossil fuels.