Case studies Publication Date 1 November 2021 Published 1 Nov 2021
Whole-of-government coordination to accelerate solar deployment
- Singapore has been taking pragmatic and measured steps in promoting solar energy as a sustainable renewable source.
- Launched in 2014, the SolarNova program is a whole-of-government effort to accelerate the deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.
- The government took the lead in rolling out the rooftop PV systems across public housing and government buildings in collaboration with solar developers.
- There was a lack of interest from commercial and industrial sector players to take on the risk of investing in solar energy systems.
- Under the old direct ownership business model, consumers paid for solar PV installation with up-front cash or signed a hire purchase agreement, where the consumer assumed full ownership of the solar asset. The high burden of cost on consumers was a deterrent to the adoption of solar energy.
- Singapore Government
- Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore
- Solar Developers Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore
- The government coordinated efforts to aggregate rooftop PV demand from various government agencies to achieve economies of scale.
- The government supported the introduction of innovative, cost-effective, sustainable energy alternatives by opening up private sector opportunities to enter and compete in the energy market.
- Changes were made to enhance the market and regulatory framework to facilitate solar deployment. This includes streamlining the registration process for solar consumers to sell their excess solar electricity to the grid and reviewing metering requirements to reduce cost.
Results and impact
- Solar deployment value creation. Private solar PV system developers have responsibility to design, finance, install, operate, and maintain the solar PV systems. The cost is recovered through sale of generated solar energy to the national grid. The solar leasing model allows government agencies to purchase the solar power at a preferential rate below the retail price, and without rendering any up-front installation costs.
- Wide adoption in public housing and schools. Since the inception of the SolarNova program, HDB and EDB have conducted six successful rounds of tenders, awarding a total of 366 MWp solar power capacity across 5,885 public housing blocks and 221 government buildings.
- Housing & Development Board surpassed its previous solar power target and rolled out 220 MWp of solar panels, and has now increased the goal to 540MWp to be achieved by 2030.
Key lessons learnt
- Governance: The program was administered through a whole-of-government effort, which deepened the integration between different government boards and beneficiaries.
- Governance: The government took the lead and set a good example to incentivise the private sector in utilising public rooftops for solar power electricity generation. The government effectively aggregated public sector solar demand for private sector solar developers and ensured economies of scale.
- Procurement: Solar leasing, in the form of a Power Purchase Agreement, provided a range of contract pricing structures that offered competitive rates, helping the government save on electricity bills.