HDB Unveils First Solar-Leasing Project



September 16, 2011

The largest property developer here has unveiled an innovative solar project that will soon power 45 residential blocks in Punggol with the sun's energy.

The Housing Board yesterday inked a 'solar-leasing' agreement with local solar manufacturer Sunseap Enterprises, which will design, install and maintain the $11 million system.

The 2MWp (megawatt peak) solar photovoltaic set-up converts sunlight into electricity, which will then power common-area facilities such as corridor lights and lifts in the 45 blocks. A watt peak is a measure of power output used in relation to photovoltaic solar energy devices.

It will be the biggest solar installation here to date, and the first solar-leasing project.

The Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council will take out a 20-year lease on the system from Sunseap Leasing, a unit of Sunseap Enterprises.

The town council will thus be spared the cost of the panels and their installation, but instead of buying power from the national grid, it will do so from Sunseap Leasing. The electricity will be priced at the current tariffs, with a 1 per cent discount thrown in.

HDB chief executive Cheong Koon Hean yesterday described the solar-leasing model as a 'win-win' one.

If the arrangement takes off, it could pave the way for more solar projects across the island, marking a turning point in Singapore's growing solar industry.

As this is a test-bed project, HDB will cover 30 per cent of the cost, or $3.28 million; Sunseap will foot the rest.

Sunseap Leasing director Frank Phuan said the company has obtained financing from overseas banks to cover the cost, and will make its money by selling electricity to the town council over the next 20 years.

Up till now, the HDB has bought and installed its own solar panels – for 40 blocks in 10 towns.

Article published by: The Straits Times, Jessica Cheam