HDB calls for sixth tender to install solar panels on 1,198 HDB blocks, 57 government sites

SINGAPORE – In its latest push to generate more clean energy in Singapore, the Housing Board (HDB) has called for its sixth tender to install solar panels across 1,198 HDB blocks and 57 government sites on Friday (March 12).

It is to meet demand for the production of a total solar capacity of 70 megawatt-peak (MWp) across government sites and HDB blocks managed by Sembawang, Tampines and Tanjong Pagar town councils.

Government sites that will participate in this tender include 40 primary and secondary schools, as well as the Tuas South Desalination Plant and Kallang Fire Station.

It comes under the Government’s SolarNova programme, which compiles solar demand from various agencies to enjoy economies of scale, and is jointly led by HDB and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

As part of this tender, vendors will be required to install smart electrical sub-meters at HDB blocks to track energy consumption patterns and the performance of common services such as lifts, lights and water pumps at each block.

With this data, the HDB and respective town councils will then be able to optimise maintenance cycles of these common services, as well as detect anomalies such as equipment faults.

Under the SolarNova programme, harnessed solar energy is first used to power common services in HDB estates in the day. Excess energy will be channelled to the electrical grid.

On average, HDB blocks are able to achieve net-zero energy consumption at common areas, which means the building produces more energy than it consumes.

Across all six tenders, the HDB has committed a total solar capacity of 330 MWp for 6,901 HDB blocks as it leads the charge to reduce Singapore’s carbon emissions and, in turn, the effects of climate change.

This is equivalent to powering 82,500 four-room flats with solar energy, potentially reducing carbon emissions by 198,000 tonnes per year, said HDB.

HDB is working towards its solar target of 540 MWp by 2030 – the equivalent of powering about 135,000 four-room flats with clean energy – which was announced in 2019.

The target could potentially generate 648 gigawatt-hour (GWh) of green energy annually, said HDB.

It contributes towards the national solar targets of 1.5 gigawatt-peak (GWp) by 2025, and 2 GWp by 2030 as set out under the Singapore Green Plan. As of last December, about 2,470 HDB blocks have been installed with solar panels. Works at another 2,080 HDB blocks are in progress or will commence soon.

HDB’s chief executive Tan Meng Dui said: “As new innovations and solutions emerge, HDB will continue to strengthen our solar capabilities and expand our installed capacity, as part of the national effort to develop greener and more sustainable towns, while reducing Singapore’s carbon footprint.”

Prior to this tender, the fifth solar tender under the SolarNova programme was awarded to Sembcorp Industries (Sembcorp), through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Sembcorp Solar Singapore, last month.

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It is also Sembcorp’s second contract under the SolarNova programme, the first being in 2018.

The fifth tender, which will reap a solar capacity of 60 MWp, had attracted five bids from local and foreign companies.

Solar panels will be installed at 1,154 HDB blocks and 46 government sites from the first quarter of this year and is expected to complete in the third quarter of 2023.

These include HDB blocks managed by Marine Parade, East Coast-Fengshanand Jalan Besar town councils, 31 primary and secondary schools and the Coney Island Reception Hub.

Having clinched a total of 82 MWp in new solar energy projects this year, Sembcorp estimates an addition of more than 400 jobs in Singapore’s solar sector to support construction of announced projects.

Mr Koh Chiap Khiong, chief executive of Singapore, South-east Asia and China, Sembcorp Industries, said: “This award is testament to our focused strategy to grow our renewable energy portfolio.

“With our international track record, we are well-positioned and committed to support Singapore’s Green Plan, and to serve the nation with clean energy.”

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