PUB kickstarts two pilot projects to harness solar power

PUB kickstarts two pilot projects to harness solar power
Choa Chu Kang Waterworks in a 2007 photo.

SINGAPORE - PUB, Singapore's national water agency, has kick-started two pilot projects to harness solar power by building rooftop solar panels at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks and installing floating solar systems on Tengeh Reservoir.

These projects are part of a national effort to explore alternative and sustainable energy sources to develop Singapore into a smart energy economy, said PUB in a statement on Friday.

The 1 Megawatt peak (MWp) rooftop solar panel at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks will harness solar energy for the plant's water treatment operations, while Tengeh Reservoir will house floating solar systems which double up as an energy catchment to channel generated solar power into the national grid.

Choa Chu Kang Waterworks

Chosen for its large roof space and treatment capacity, Choa Chu Kang Waterworks will see up to 50 per cent of its peak daytime electricity supply for water treatment equipment, lighting and air-conditioning coming from solar power.

The rooftop solar panels will generate an estimated 1.1 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity per annum, which is about the average annual energy consumption of about 250 HDB households. This $2.3 million project is slated to start operations by first quarter of 2015.

Tengeh Reservoir

At Tengeh Reservoir, the floating solar systems will cover 3 hectares (or less than 0.5 per cent) of the reservoir area and generate up to 3.3 GWh of electricity per annum, which is about the average annual energy consumption of about 750 HDB households.

This $11 million pilot project is led by EDB, in close partnership with PUB, and managed by the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS). As part of the pilot project, PUB will conduct an environmental study to measure its impact on reservoir evaporation, biodiversity and water quality.

Though both projects, PUB will conduct a test-bedding study on the cost-effectiveness, potential benefits and scale limitations of investing solar power infrastructure. The Economic Strategies Committee 2010 recommended Singapore to diversify its energy portfolio by aiming to have five per cent of peak electricity demand supplied from renewable energy sources by 2020.

natlim@sph.com.sg

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