The Housing Board is reaffirming its commitment to promote sustainable living by redesigning the roofs of new blocks so solar panels can be more easily installed.
As of now, 18 projects have been earmarked, including ongoing projects in Punggol, Bidadari and Bukit Batok.
The HDB, with its stock of 10,000 blocks, is a prime candidate to harness solar energy. It said yesterday new blocks with at least 400 sq m of rooftop space will be "solar-ready". Essential block services like water tanks will be situated to optimise available rooftop space, and support structures and electrical infrastructure for the panels will be catered for.
It will also review other projects currently under construction to see if solar-ready roofs can be incorporated into their designs.
The redesigned rooftops eliminate the necessity for further renovation, reducing the time taken for panels to be installed from 40 days to 25. The cost of installation is also about 40 per cent less.
The HDB has pledged to install solar panels in 5,500 blocks by 2020. This would generate clean energy to power 55,000 four- room flats, or 5.5 per cent of the total number of flats, every year. Carbon emissions will also be cut by 132,500 tonnes a year.
As of July, 944 HDB blocks have had solar panels fitted on their roofs that fully power common services for the estates, like lifts and water pumps. Excess solar energy is channelled to the national electrical grid. Currently, there is enough to power about 10,000 four-room flats each year.
The HDB told The Straits Times not all projects will be handed over to town councils with solar panels installed, as sufficient demand has to be aggregated before a solar-leasing tender is called.
Energy experts welcomed the move. Said Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore deputy chief executive Thomas Reindl: "The future is very bright for solar in Singapore. Beyond 2020, the contribution of solar photovoltaic systems to the total energy consumption of Singapore could be as high as 20 to 30 per cent."
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