HDB closer to solar power target after awarding latest tender to Sembcorp-led consortium

Solar panels at Punggol Edge, where the pilot for solar-ready roofs began. Solar panels are set to be installed in blocks of public flats managed by the West Coast and Choa Chu Kang town councils, with work beginning in the current third quarter. PHOTO: HDB

SINGAPORE - Solar panels are set to be installed in blocks of public flats managed by the West Coast and Choa Chu Kang town councils, in a move to reduce Singapore's carbon emissions and, in turn, the effects of climate change.

Work will begin in the current third quarter, said the Housing Board on Sunday (June 24) when it announced that the tender for the job had been won by a consortium made up of Sembcorp Solar Singapore and Japan's Kurihara Kogyo.

This is the third such contract to be awarded and it involves 848 HDB blocks and 27 government sites that include 22 educational institutions and the Choa Chu Kang Columbarium.

When completed, the total number of public housing blocks with such panels will exceed 2,400, bringing the HDB a step closer to its target of having solar panels in 5,500 blocks by 2020.

By then, the solar panels are expected to have a solar capacity of 220MW-peak, which can generate the equivalent energy to power about 55,000 four-room flats and reduce carbon emissions by 132,500 tonnes annually.

The solar power can be used for common services such as lifts, water pumps and lighting for common areas in the day.

Said HDB chief executive Cheong Koon Hean: "Harnessing solar power is key to HDB's efforts in conserving and optimising the use of energy in our housing estates."

She also said that HDB has made steady progress since it conducted its first solar test-bedding projects at two precincts in 2008.

The latest tender comes under the HDB and Economic Development Board's SolarNova programme, which compiles solar demand from various agencies to enjoy economies of scale.

It is the largest under the programme and nine companies submitted bids for it after the launch last November.

The fourth tender will be called at the end of next year.

The first tender was won by Sunseap Leasing in 2015, involving about 800 HDB blocks. And the second, which went to Million Lighting in June last year, was for 636 blocks and 31 government sites.

The job under the first two tenders are set to be completed by the third quarter of next year, and the third, by the second quarter of 2020.

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