Commentary

Sep-Oct 2015 

Changing Asia’s Solar Game
by Grace Chua

Singapore is not often thought of as a competitive market for solar panels. Its thicket of high-rise office and apartment buildings means only a small patch of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels can be set atop each one to generate electricity—that may be a financially inefficient proposition for an individual building owner.

But its comprehensive government policy around solar could change all that. Earlier this year (June 2015), the Singapore government called its largest-ever solar-PV leasing tender to date. It intends to put panels on some 900 public housing blocks, as well as public-sector premises like water treatment plants and other government buildings. In the leasing model, the panels are leased from a private firm, paying nothing upfront and buying electricity at an agreed-on rate.

The 40 megawatt-peak (MWp) of planned capacity from that tender is as large as all the capacity installed on Singapore’s public housing blocks so far. The tender is part of Singapore’s SolarNova programme to boost demand for solar energy, have solar contribute 350 MWp to electricity generation by 2020 (about 5 percent of peak electricity demand), and build industry capability.

 

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