Tuesday, July 13, 2010

HDB makes $2.3m solar panel purchase

To be mounted on 30 blocks in Q4, panels save $40,000 per year per precinct

THE Housing Development Board (HDB) yesterday announced a $2.3 million purchase of 4,348 solar panels from Norwegian energy firm Renewable Energy Corporation. This is the largest solar panel procurement in Singapore to date.

These new solar panels, to be produced at REC's plant in Tuas, will be installed in Q4 this year in six precincts across Singapore: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Aljunied, Jalan Besar, Telok Blangah and Jurong. The installation will cover about 3,000 residential units, or about 30 HDB slab blocks.

The total energy-producing capacity of these panels is nearly 1MWp (megawatt peak). A watt peak is a measure of power output commonly used in relation to photovoltaic solar energy devices.

According to HDB, one block's solar panels can generate enough energy from one day's sunlight to power all of its common area services - like corridor lighting and lifts - for that entire day. These consume around 600 kWh each month on average. The excess energy goes back into the power grid. 'That will save money for the town councils, which will eventually translate to savings for the residents as well,' said HDB chief executive Tay Kim Poh.

In total, the solar panels are expected to produce 170 MWh of energy each year - 'a total savings of about $40,000 per year per precinct', according to a HDB spokesman.

The planned installation is part of HDB's Solar Capability Building Program, which is fully funded by the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Sustainable Development. The committee has set aside $31 million for HDB to install solar panels in 30 precincts over the next five years.

HDB's pilot solar panel installation was in Serangoon and Wellington in December 2008, and since then the price of solar panels has dropped by more than half from $5.17 per Wp to $2.33 per Wp. It is currently in the process of installing solar panels in Tampines, Bukit Panjang, Marine Parade and Tanjong Pagar.

HDB will also collaborate with American environmental engineering firm Camp Dresser & McKee to study the development of Punggol Town as 'Singapore's first eco-town', Mr Tay said.

Source: Business Times, 13 Jul 2010

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