SINGAPORE – Sunseap Group’s unit, Sunseap Leasing, has won a tender to install more than 170,000 solar panels at 1,218 HDB blocks and 49 government sites, which include 30 schools, 13 Ministry of Defence sites and the National Library Building.

Installation is expected to begin in early 2020 and complete by the third quarter of 2022.

The project comes under the fourth leasing tender from the Housing & Development Board (HDB) and the Singapore Economic Development Board’s joint SolarNova programme. The tender was called in December 2018 and received eight bids from both local and foreign companies.

This is the second SolarNova tender won by the homegrown solar energy provider, the first being in 2015.

The latest project’s solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity of 70 megawatt-peak (MWp) is a 40 per cent increase from the last awarded tender of 50 MWp.

The SolarNova programme aggregates solar demand across government agencies to leverage economies of scale, allowing agencies with smaller energy demands to utilise clean energy at a lower cost.

HDB said it contributes significantly to the national solar energy target of 350 MWp by 2020, with more than 60 per cent coming from its solar initiatives and programmes.

“This enables the generation of 277 gigawatt hour of clean energy annually, which is equivalent to powering about 57,500 four-room flats with clean energy, and potentially reducing carbon emissions by 138,500 tonnes each year,” said HDB.

Energy from PV panels on HDB blocks will be used in the day to fully power common services in HDB estates, such as the blocks’ lifts, lights and water pumps.

Installation works under the first three tenders in the SolarNova programme is estimated to complete by end 2020. GRAPHIC: HDB

These blocks are able to achieve net-zero energy consumption with excess solar energy channelled back to Singapore’s electrical grid, said HDB.

As at August 2019, about 2,000 HDB blocks have been fitted with solar panels, and solar PV installation at another about 2,370 HDB blocks is in progress.

Installation works under the first three tenders in the SolarNova programme is estimated to complete by end 2020.

Frank Phuan, CEO and executive director of Sunseap Group, said Sunseap’s significant participation in the installation of solar systems across Singapore is “in line with Singapore’s pledge at the recent United Nations Climate Action Summit where our prime minister said that Singapore will be switching to a cleaner fuel mix and using cleaner energy solutions in order to reduce our carbon emission by 2030”.

For the project, Sunseap will deploy at least 170,000 bifacial solar panels, which unlike typical solar panels, can generate power on both sides of the modules and increase energy yield by up to 15 per cent, Mr Phuan said.

The bifacial panels can also last up to 30 years as compared to 25 years previously.