Singapore: Housing Development Board calls largest solar-leasing tender


Local newspaper "The Straits Times" reported this week that the HDB is currently working on its largest single solar-leasing project to date. The HDB called its largest solar-leasing tender for a company to own and operate the panels on about 125 housing blocks in four precints: Ang Mo Kio, Sengkang, Serangoon North and Buangkok. The total solar electricity generated is expected to be around 5MW. This capacity can power more than 1,000 four-room HDB apartments.

The HDB will be offsetting up to 30% of the start-up costs and will also purchase the electricity generated for 20 years at a 5% or greater discount off the prevailing market price according to the local media. The solar electricity generated will then be used to power the corridors, lifts, water pumps and other ancillary common areas in the apartment blocks.

The HDB is a statutory board of the Ministry of National Development and is responsible for public housing in Singapore where as many as 80% of the population live. The HDB also wants to look into the possibility of households being able to buy solar generated electricity.

First solar-leasing projects already underway

The HDB launched Singapore's first solar-leasing scheme in May, 2011 to test-bed solar power in housing precints. In January this year the HDB awarded a tender to solar developer Sunseap to lease 3MWp systems for 80 blocks in Singapore's first eco-town in Punggol. Installation works are expected to be completed by 2014. Sunseap will design, finance, install, operate and maintain the solar PV systems. This Punggol eco-town tender attracted 13 bidders.

The first tender which was a 2 MW system cost $10.9 million, of which $3.28 was paid upfront by the HDB. With the second 3 MW tender the system cost fell to $8.84 million and the HDB had to fork out $645,000. Asia One Business reported that HDB is currently the largest stakeholder in solar PV installations in Singapore.

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