Singapore Opens 122,000-Panel Floating Solar Farm

The solar farm is one of the world’s largest operational floating solar PV systems.
Chris Young
The floating solar farm on Tengeh ReservoirSembcorp

Singapore's floating solar farm on the Tengeh Reservoir has officially been opened by Sembcorp Industries and the country's National Water Agency PUB, a press statement reveals. 

The solar farm is composed of 122,000 solar panels spanning 45 hectares, which is roughly equivalent to the size of 45 football fields. The 60 megawatt-peak (MWp) solar photovoltaic (PV) farm is now officially one of the world’s largest operational inland floating solar PV systems. 

Singapore aims to tackle surprisingly high C02 emissions

The solar farm was deployed as part of Singapore's goal to quadruple solar energy capabilities by 2025, in a bid to help the country do its part to tackle the global climate crisis.

As the island state, which is less than half the size of London, does not have the necessary land resources for large solar farms, it has looked instead to its waterways.

Despite its relatively small size, Singapore is a thriving financial hub, making it one of the biggest per capita carbon dioxide emitters in Asia, according to a report by AFP.

The Sembcorp Industries press statement says that the electricity generated by the solar farm will be enough to power Singapore's five local water treatment plants, which would offset approximately 7 percent of the National Water Agency's annual energy requirements.   

This, the statement says, is equivalent to taking 7,000 cars off the roads and reducing carbon emissions by roughly 32 kilotonnes annually.

New engineering technique devised to work around COVID-19 constraints

Construction on the floating solar farm started in August 2020. Sembcorp Industries says that, due to the constraints of COVID-19, a "new engineering and construction technique" was devised in order to design a custom-built jig that increased solar panel assembly by up to 50 percent. 

Drone electroluminescence imaging was also used in order to capture X-ray-like signals from PV modules in order to accurately pinpoint any problems caused by the new manufacturing process.  

The floats used on the solar farm are made using high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is recyclable, UV-resistant, and corrosion-resistant. The solar panels themselves are fastened to the floor of the reservoir using chains and concrete blocks.

Singapore will continue to look out to its waterways and off its coast in order to build the required solar farms to reach its climate goals. The country's government also recently sanctioned the building of a 13,000-panel solar farm that stretches off the coast of Singapore into the Johor Strait, which separates Singapore from Malaysia. 

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