The floating PV (FPV) market is set to double in 2021, yet it is still seen as a niche by many countries around the world. Not in Singapore, though. The city-state – which is already home to the world’s largest offshore floating PV (OFPV) farm, as well as the world’s largest FPV testbed at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) – is now home to an operational 60 MW FPV array on the Tengeh Reservoir.
Sembcorp Floating Solar Singapore, a unit of Sembcorp Industries, began construction on the system back in June 2020. Now the system’s 122,000 Trina Solar 210 Vertex dual-glass modules, which cover a surface area the size of 45 football fields, are in full commercial operation and delivering green energy from Singapore’s main reservoir of drinking water via a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Public Utilities Board, Singapore’s National Water Agency. The PPA will see approximately 7% of its energy demand provided by the FPV array.
At the Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate in April, convened by US President Joe Biden, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that in order for Singapore “to overcome (its) small size and lack of resources, and achieve (its) emission reduction goals, Singapore must also innovate and use technology extensively.” But Singapore is certainly not all talk – it can walk the walk, and more than that, it is doing its walking on water.
The system will generate 77,259,302 kWh of clean electricity per year, which is enough to power 16,000 average Singaporean households.
“The application of Trina Solar’s 210 Vertex modules in Singapore’s floating project has been a successful showcase,” said Zhao Lei, Trina Solar’s project leader in the China region. “After the Singapore project, more and more country markets show confidence and recognition of the quality of Trina Solar’s 210 Vertex modules. Our brand has earned its wider reputation overseas.”
The Public Utilities Board said in an earlier statement that it was seeking double-glass PV modules like those supplied by Trina Solar, because they needed to be durable enough to perform in wet and humid conditions for 25 years. The panels themselves are supported by high-density polyethylene (HDPE) floats. The floats are UV-resistant, which is a necessity to protect them from degradation.
Singapore installed its first FPV system as a 1 MWp testbed on the Tengeh Reservoir in 2016. Now that this large-scale FPV is now successfully in operation, Singapore will look to repeat the process across its many reservoirs and other bodies of water.
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