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HDB to Bring Solar Energy to Over 8,000 Blocks through SolarNova Programme
With the launch of seventh SolarNova tender, HDB is on track to meet the target of 540MWp of solar PV capacity by 2030
The Housing & Development Board (HDB) has called the seventh solar leasing tender under the SolarNova programme. The SolarNova programme, led jointly by HDB and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), accelerates the deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Singapore and helps drive the growth of Singapore’s solar industry. It is also an integral part of the HDB Green Towns Programme (GTP), which aims to make HDB towns more sustainable and liveable. Including this SolarNova tender, HDB has committed a total solar capacity of 380 MWp for about 8,400 HDB blocks. This is equivalent to powering 95,000 4-room flats with solar energy.
2 In 2019, HDB announced a new solar target of 540 MWp by 2030, after having achieved its earlier solar target of 220 MWp. This new target could potentially generate 648 GWh of solar energy annually, contributing 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.
3 The latest SolarNova tender, with a solar capacity of 75 megawatt-peak (MWp), aggregates public sector demand for the installation of solar panels across 1,290 HDB blocks and 99 government sites. HDB has progressively rolled out batches of tenders over the years, so as to reap economies of scale and lower costs from the installation of solar panels at neighbouring blocks. These are also subject to tender timelines.
HDB Green Towns Programme
4 The HDB Green Towns programme, launched in 2020, aims to bring sustainable living to all existing HDB towns by 2030, with large-scale implementation of green features to improve residents’ quality of life. One of the programme’s three focus areas is to reduce energy consumption from the grid through the harnessing of solar energy.
5 HDB is the largest driver for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Singapore today. Under the SolarNova programme, HDB aggregates public sector demand for the installation of solar panels across HDB blocks and government sites. This generates solar energy and helps to reduce carbon emissions, thereby mitigating the effects of climate change. HDB’s 2030 target of 540 MWp could potentially generate 648 GWh of solar energy annually to power the equivalent of 135,000 4-room HDB flats.
6 HDB’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tan Meng Dui said, “Our journey in building up our solar capabilities started 14 years ago on a small scale. Today, there are over 10,000 HDB blocks in Singapore, and we strive to install solar panels on as many HDB blocks as possible. Our solar initiatives are a key part of the HDB Green Towns Programme, enabling us to achieve net-zero energy consumption in our HDB common areas. We will continue to leverage new technologies and smart solutions to support the national goal of achieving a green and sustainable Singapore.”
More than 8,400 HDB blocks have been committed for solar installation till date, to help reduce Singapore’s carbon footprint. (Photo to be credited to Sembcorp Industries)
Launch of Seventh SolarNova Tender
7 Under the SolarNova programme, solar energy that is harnessed is first used to power common services (e.g. lifts, lights and water pumps) in HDB estates in the day, with excess energy channelled to the grid. On average, HDB blocks are able to achieve net-zero energy consumption at common areas.
8 Since the sixth SolarNova tender, vendors have been required to install smart electrical sub-meters at HDB blocks. The meters will enable HDB and the Town Councils to monitor and analyse energy consumption patterns and the performance of common services at each block. With the data, Town Councils can compare energy usage across HDB blocks, and track the demand and supply of energy for individual blocks in the estate. The data collected will help the Town Councils to optimise maintenance cycles of common services, as well as detect anomalies such as equipment fault. This is in line with HDB’s efforts to harness smart technologies to develop Smart Estates, one of the key pillars of the Smart HDB Town Framework.
9 The seventh SolarNova tender involves the participation of six agencies, namely the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Ministry of Education, People’s Association, Singapore Polytechnic, Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board, and Ministry of Health.
10 The seventh solar leasing tender will close on 20 May 2022 and is targeted to be awarded in 4Q 2022. Installation of the solar PV systems is expected to be completed by 3Q 2025. The full list of government organisations and sites covered under the seventh SolarNova tender is attached in Annex A. An overview of the SolarNova tenders launched to date is shown here.
Note: These figures reflect the details in the tenders called. For Tender 1, the actual solar capacity awarded was 76 MWp.
Installation of Solar Panels on HDB Blocks
11 Out of the 8,400 HDB blocks committed, 2,700 HDB blocks have been installed with solar panels to date. Solar panels for the remaining HDB blocks that have been committed are progressively being installed in batches over the next two to three years. HDB is constantly reviewing its plans to incorporate solar panels in HDB blocks, in tandem with the development of new BTO estates and rejuvenation of mature estates, and will continue to support Singapore’s efforts to accelerate its usage of solar energy. To this end, HDB will intensify its efforts to deploy higher efficiency solar panels, install solar panels on more HDB rooftops, and catalyse the public sector’s adoption of solar energy.
 Includes HDB’s efforts prior to the SolarNova programme, when HDB ran pilots on solar initiatives.
 Smart technologies such as sensors collecting and analysing estate data, will provide information and insights that can help improve estate services by integrating, managing, and interpreting data from various sources.