SINGAPORE (Mar 12): Frank Phuan leased his first solar panel to a German international school here in 2006, he was the only player around. The business of solar leasing did not exist then, but was developed by Phuan as a means to circumvent the licensing requirements for the sale of energy. “It was the ­Energy Market Authority (EMA) that hinted [at the idea of solar leasing] to us. They said: ‘We like your solar power idea without upfront costs. Why don’t you make it like a commercial lease agreement? Like a photocopy machine, a solar system can be leased’”,” recalls Phuan. “Hence, we started the whole idea of solar leasing.”

Today, his company Sunseap Group powers the common amenities of 20% of HDB blocks in Singapore. It also serves commercial and industrial buildings operated by more than 500 companies. The company buys solar panels and then leases them out to its customers. The monthly lease fee is based on energy used — a pay-per-use model from the perspective of the consumer.

With the retail electricity market set to be liberalised this year, Sunseap has also acquired an electricity retailer licence to sell solar energy to residential consumers. Phuan, who is Sunseap’s co-founder, CEO and executive director, says he will partner banks and telcos to offer electricity packages to retail customers. This means its products could come bundled with internet and data plans, as well as banking products and services. More details will be disclosed “soon”, he tells The Edge Singapore.

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