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Largest solar leasing tender issued under SolarNova Programme for 848 HDB blocks and 27 government sites in Singapore

Photo credit: HDB

The Housing & Development Board (HDB) in Singapore has called the largest solar leasing tender to date under the government’s SolarNova Programme, aggregating multi-agency demand for the installation of solar panels across 848 HDB blocks and 27 government sites.

The SolarNova programme aggregates demand for solar energy across public sector agencies to enable those with smaller solar PV (photovoltaic) demand to enjoy solar energy at a lower cost due to economies of scale. As the largest stakeholder in the installation of solar PV systems in Singapore, HDB which is responsible for public housing, acts as the government’s central procurement agency for solar panels. Upon the award of the tender, the individual government organisations will oversee the installation of the solar PV panels for their buildings.

HDB (and other participating organisations taking part in the bulk tender) need not fund any portion of the upfront cost for such solar projects. The user parties managing the respective HDB blocks and government buildings will enter into a power purchase agreement with the private sector developer to pay for the solar power consumed, at a preferential rate that will not go beyond the prevailing electricity tariff rate.

This is the third tender to be launched under the SolarNova programme, led jointly by HDB and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).  With this tender, solar PV systems of 50 megawatt-peak (MWp) will be installed. (MWp specifies the output power achieved by a Solar module under full solar radiation under set Standard Test Conditions).

This is a 25% increase over the previous two SolarNova tenders which involved the installation of 40 MWp of solar PV systems each. Compared to the previous tenders, more HDB blocks have been identified for this tender. Tenderers are also required to optimise the roof space for solar panel installation.

In addition to existing agencies which have participated in the previous tenders, such as HDB, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Education (MOE) and National Environment Agency (NEA), this tender will see another four government organisations participating for the first time, bringing together a total of 8 government agencies on board the programme. The four new agencies are the Building & Construction Authority (BCA), Institute of Technical Education (ITE), National Heritage Board (NHB) and Sport Singapore (SportSG).

 This multi-agency solar leasing tender will close on 31 January 2018, and targeted to be awarded in 2Q2018.  Installation of the solar PV systems is expected to be completed by 2Q2020.  

HDB’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Cheong Koon Hean said, “HDB plays a key role in supporting Singapore’s collective efforts to promote sustainable development. One area that we actively look into is to harness solar energy from the rooftops of HDB blocks. HDB’s efforts in building solar capabilities have made steady progress. Today, HDB is the largest stakeholder in solar PV installation, having committed to fulfil over 60 percent of the 350 MWp of solar capacity that Singapore has planned to achieve by 2020.”

Including this third SolarNova tender, HDB has committed a total solar capacity of 190 MWp out of the 220 MWp target for 3,350 HDB blocks, and is on track to deploy solar panels on 5,500 HDB blocks by 2020.

With solar PV capacity of 220MWp, 265GWh of clean energy can be generated annually – this is equivalent to powering about 55,000 4-room flats, with carbon emissions reduced by 132,500 tonnes each year. The solar energy harnessed is used to power common services in the HDB estates like lifts, lighting in common areas and pumps, helping town councils to moderate the increase in operating and maintenance costs due to inflation.

Singapore has set a target of increasing its total solar power capacity from around 140 megawatt peak today to 350 megawatt peak by 2020 and one gigawatt peak beyond 2020.

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