Singapore 16th September 2011
While we are working out loading and budget estimates for one of our project clients today, I am reading an article on the subject of “solar leasing”. It is sort of links in, as more and more our lighting designs are tied in with how much energy the lighting consumes (or saves depending on how you look at it) set out against the cost of the installation. It is without doubt that lighting systems that are more efficient, sustainable and save more are generally more expensive. So woking out the loading estimates and budget costs are fast becoming a major key element in the design of our lighting concepts. Add to that the opportunities that low energy systems like LED now offer with the prospect of using renewable energy, the matter becomes a calculation exercise in terms of value for money and return on investment.
The article refers to a new innovative approach to solar energy where the town council will “lease” the solar panels (rather then
buying) from a commercial solar company at a predetermined rate over the next 20 years. The panels will be installed on housing development board’s government funded housing estates. The solar company will install and maintain the panels and the housing board will buy the electricity from the solar company rather then from the grid. The solar energy will be used to power common area facilities such as stairway, corridors and lifts.
The leasing principle is applied in many applications (cars!), but a new concept for solar energy. The way it works is that the housing board will pay an agreed tarif for the solar electricity (according to the article at the current rate for grid electricty tarrifs) to the the solar company. Over the years this will then pay off the cost of the installation which the solar company finances first. I am sure they have done the maths of electricity usage against the return on investment. The question that remains is whether the life time will last the lease time (20 years?) and whether the investment can be recouped before the end of life!
In Light Watch today some interesting and trendy suggestion when it comes to using renewable energy. Stylish electricity poles, funky wind turbines and street poles…have agreat weekend!
Light Watch 164: Trends as captured from the trendhunter.com website