Sun Electric wins tender to install solar panels on JTC buildings

JTC CEO Png Cheong Boon says its SolarRoof initiative can "overcome" some of the challenges faced by the local solar market.
Nicole Tan Channel NewsAsia 21 Jun 17;

SINGAPORE: Government agency JTC on Wednesday (Jun 21) announced it has awarded Sun Electric the first tender under its SolarRoof initiative to boost the generation of solar energy in Singapore.

The 15-year contract with Singapore-based Sun Electric will allow the latter to install solar panels on the rooftops of 27 JTC buildings, which will in turn generate more than 5 megawatt-peak (MWp) of electricity that can be fully exported to the national power grid and sold on the open energy market.

The solar energy company will pay JTC a monthly rental for up to 43,000 sq m of rooftop space - the size of about four football fields, the agency said.

JTC claimed its SolarRoof business model will address limitations of intermittent power supply, as the solar-generated power will be fully exported to the grid, and consumers will be receiving a stable, constant supply from the grid.

With existing models, JTC said consumers that install their own solar panels and depend directly on power generated from these panels would have to alter their infrastructure to manage the intermittent nature of the power supply.

JTC CEO Png Cheong Boon said the SolarRoof model can "overcome" some of the challenges faced by the local solar market, such as roof constraints and high capital costs. With it, he hoped to optimise the roof space under its stable of real estate developments and provide more sustainable energy options to its customers.

Sun Electric is expected to install the solar panels over the coming year and start selling solar-generated power by mid-2018, JTC added.

Singapore's solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity has tripled over the last three years, reaching 129.8 MWp in the first quarter of 2017, according to the Energy Market Authority.

JTC awards contract under new solar leasing model
NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 22 Jun 17;

SINGAPORE — In a move aimed at encouraging more building owners to install rooftop solar panels, JTC yesterday awarded a contract that will allow the solar energy generated at 27 of its buildings to be fully exported to the national power grid.

The new solar leasing model offers greater flexibility to building owners, who can make money from unused space on their rooftops even if the occupants of the properties do not tap the renewable resource. This is a departure from existing leasing models in Singapore, which may be more suited for building owners that want to generate solar energy for their own use, said industrial landlord JTC.

Under the existing models, excess solar power may be channelled to the grid. Under the 15-year contract with clean energy firm Sun Electric, worth about S$2.7 million, JTC will charge the firm monthly rentals for rooftop spaces that are pegged to market prices of electricity.

Sun Electric will supply, install and maintain the solar panels, which will generate up to 5 megawatt-peak (MWp) of electricity and be ready within a year. It will own all the power generated by the solar panels, which will occupy 43,000 sqm, about the size of six football fields.

The occupants of JTC’s 27 buildings involved — which include those in Biopolis and JTC’s Launch Pad@one-north — may continue buying electricity from their existing suppliers.

The power from solar panels can be sold by Sun Electric to larger users elsewhere, such as businesses that want to adopt clean energy but whose buildings do not have roof space.

Under the contract, JTC may include more of its properties, such as the future JTC FoodHub @ Senoko for solar-panel installation. JTC may also call a new tender if it feels the market in future has matured, with more players able to support such a solar leasing model.

The new model overcomes obstacles that lessees had raised in previous discussions with JTC. They said solar power supply was intermittent in nature and could not be used for key manufacturing operations without substantial alterations to infrastructure. Their property leases may be shorter than the solar contract period, and power generated during non-operating hours would be wasted.

The cost of electricity from traditional energy sources has also been low, said Mr Mark Koh, JTC’s director of facilities and estate management.

Under the new leasing model, solar energy users do not need to change their infrastructure and may enjoy discounted solar power. Solar-generation companies no longer need to limit their customers to the building owners and occupants that their solar panels sit atop.

Sun Electric chief executive Matthew Peloso said its platform, called SolarSpace, allows buildings to sign up and sell power to any electricity consumer connected on the national power grid. “Today, a number of Reits (real estate investment trusts) see the benefit in this programme, and we are developing solar-power projects on industrial rooftops from Changi to Tuas,” he said.

Sun Electric’s electricity prices are typically 10 to 20 per cent lower than the tariff rate in Singapore, added Dr Peloso.

JTC chief executive Png Cheong Boon said: “By leading the way with this new ... model, we also hope to encourage more solar installations in Singapore, since building owners will now be able to generate revenue from the use of their roof space, regardless of their own energy demands.”

Singapore’s solar energy deployment is now about 130MWp, and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said this month that the plan is to have more than 1 gigawatt-peak after 2020, which will represent about 15 per cent of electrical power demand at peak during the day.

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