Singapore

New HDB blocks to be 'solar-ready'

Housing Board to redesign roofs of new projects so solar panels can be more easily installed


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.

HDB - with its stock of 10,000 blocks - is a prime candidate to harness solar energy. It yesterday said that new blocks with at least 400 sq m of rooftop space will be "solar-ready".

Essential block features like water tanks will be situated to optimise available rooftop space, and support structures and electrical infrastructure for the panels will be catered for.

HDB will also review other projects that are now under construction to see if solar-ready roofs can be incorporated into their design.

The redesigned rooftops eliminate the necessity of further renovation, reducing the time taken for panels to be installed from 40 days to only 25.

The cost of installation is also about 40 per cent cheaper.

The HDB has pledged to install solar panels across 5,500 blocks by 2020. This would generate clean energy to power 55,000 four-room flats - or 5.5 per cent the total number of flats - every year.

Carbon emissions will also be cut by 132,500 tonnes a year.

The 18 projects that have been set aside include ongoing ones in Punggol, Bidadari and Bukit Batok. PHOTO: HDB

As of July, 944 HDB blocks have had solar panels fitted on their roofs, which fully power common services for the estates, like lifts and water pumps.

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Excess solar energy is channelled back to the national electrical grid.

There is currently enough to power about 10,000 four-room flats each year.

The HDB told The Straits Times that not all projects will be handed over to town councils with solar panels installed, as sufficient demand had to be aggregated before a solar-leasing tender was called.

The move was welcomed by energy experts.

Dr Thomas Reindl, the deputy chief executive officer of the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore, said: "The future is 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 per cent to 30 per cent."

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