Singapore opens floating 60-megawatt solar farm

Spanning 45 hectares over Tengeh Reservoir, the solar farm comprises 122,000 panels and is part of the country's efforts to quadruple solar energy deployment by 2025.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

A floating solar farm spanning 45 hectares, or about 45 football fields, has commenced operations over Singapore's Tengeh Reservoir. Comprising 122,00 solar panels, the renewable energy site boasts a 60 megawatt-peak (MWp) capacity.

The Sembcorp Tengeh Floating Solar Farm will be able generate enough energy to power five local water treatment plants, according to a joint statement released Wednesday by Sembcorp Industries' subsidiary SembCorp Floating Solar and national water agency PUB. 

This would offset 7% of PUB's energy requirements annually, slashing carbon emissions by some 32 kilotonnes each year. This was equivalent to removing 7,000 cars from the roads and sufficient to power 16,000 four-room apartments, Sembcorp said.  

Construction of the solar photovoltaic site began last August. The facility is part of Singapre's efforts to quadruple its solar energy deployment by 2025. 

Sembcorp said it explored new ways of deploying the solar farm amidst the global pandemic, including an engineering and construction technique used to design a custom-built jig that helped speed up the assembly of solar panels by up to 50%. 

The facility also was developed to minimise impact on Tengeh Reservoir's water quality, flora, and fauna. Considerations included leaving sufficient gaps between solar panels to improve airflow and enable enough sunlight to reach aquatic life. Aerators were further added to maintain oxygen levels in the reservoir.

In addition, floats used were made using high-density polyethylene, which was a certified food-grade material that was recyclable, UV-resistant, and corrosion resistant.

PUB and Sembcorp added that they would continue to monitor the reservoir and take necessary measures to maintain biodiversity and water quality.

They noted that drone electroluminescence imaging technology would be deployed to capture "x-ray-like" signals from the solar panels to identify potential defects. This would ensure defective modules were replaced. The technology was deployed in partnership with Quantified Energy Labs, which is a spinoff from the National University of Singapore. 

PUB's chief executive Ng Joo Hee said: "With this floating solar power plant, which we believe to be one of the largest in the world, PUB takes a big step towards enduring energy sustainability in water treatment. Solar energy is plentiful, clean and green, and is key to reducing PUB's and also Singapore's carbon footprint."

According to Sembcorp Industries' group president and CEO Wong Kim Yin, the organization operates more than 3,300 megawatts of renewable energy assets worldwide. 

Singapore has a 10-year roadmap to drive sustainable developments in the country and achieve its goal of net zero emissions as soon as viable. The Singapore Green Plan 2030 outlines various targets across different areas, including plans to deploy enough solar energy to power 350,000 households a year, cut waste sent to landfill by 30%, and have at least 20% of schools be carbon-neutral.


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