Sheng Siong to fit 'largest solar panel system here'

SINGAPORE - SUPERMARKET giant Sheng Siong plans to put the largest single solar panel installation in Singapore on the rooftop of its distribution centre in Mandai.

The 11,000 sq m installation will supply up to 1.2MW - enough to power more than 200 four-room Housing Board flats - when running in optimum conditions, or megawatt-peak (MWp).

To be designed and built by major solar energy firm Phoenix Solar, which is based in Germany, the system is expected to be functional by the end of this year and will supply at least 15 per cent of the centre's electricity.

"The commercial and environmental returns of this project make it a viable business decision which will continue to yield benefits for a long time," said Sheng Siong chief executive Lim Hock Chee.

A large solar photovoltaic system, which turns the sun's light into electricity, typically pays for itself in seven to 10 years, a return period that has grown shorter in recent years due to lower panel costs.

Phoenix Solar managing director Christophe Inglin said the cost per installed watt of solar panels today is about a third of what it was a few years ago and that the installed photovoltaic capacity in Singapore could double to 20 MWp this year.

Other recent large projects here include a 1 MWp system at the Keppel Seghers Ulu Pandan Newater plant and an HDB project to put 3 MWp worth of solar panels on the roofs of 80 HDB blocks at Punggol.

Currently, Singapore has about 10 MWp of solar capacity installed. In 2011, solar, other renewable and waste-to-energy sources made up 3.6 per cent of the island's power generation capacity.

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