SINGAPORE: All public housing blocks from May this year will be designed with "solar-ready" roofs, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said on Friday (Sep 1).
The blocks will come with features that enable solar panels to be easily mounted and maintained, in a move to harness solar energy to power common estate services in HDB developments, the agency said in a press release.
The initiative will apply to public housing blocks with at least 400 sqm of open roof space after setting aside space needed for essential services such as water tanks, water pumps and lift rooms.
This will enable more productive and efficient installation of solar panels on HDB rooftops, it added.
According to HDB, it takes 25 days to install solar panels on a solar-ready roof, compared to 40 days to retrofit existing blocks.
The manpower costs for installation are also more than 40 per cent lower for these solar-ready roofs, it said.
HDB explained that in older blocks, installation of solar panels on rooftops would require retrofitting and construction works, including re-wiring the building to link the solar panels to the switch room.
The space available for installation of solar panel installation is also limited by the placement of the essential block services and the overall design of the roof space.
As a result, more time would be needed to assess where to place the solar panels so that the amount of sunlight received can be maximised while not obstructing maintenance access to the essential block services.
In comparison, the new “plug-and-play” approach to solar panel installation reduces the time and labour required to install solar panels, the statutory board said.
This announcement comes after the successful pilot of solar-ready roofs at six residential blocks at Punggol Edge, which was completed in June last year.
As of this month, a total of 18 HDB projects have already been designed with solar-ready roofs, HDB said.
The projects include West Plains @ Butkit Batok, Tampines GreenView and Woodleigh Glen at Bidadari.