Singapore now home to one of the world’s largest floating solar farms
Singapore has completed the installation of one of the world’s largest floating solar farms on sea water in the Straits of Johor.
With the successful building of the 5-MW-peak offshore floating photovoltaic (OFPV) system, it is part of Singapore’s plan as a land-scarce country to tap offshore solar as part of its renewables strategy.
Photo courtesy of Sunseap
The floating solar farm at Woodlands took close to a year to set up amid movement restrictions during the COVID-19 lockdown. It involved a total of 13,312 panels, 40 inverters and more than 30,000 floats. The installation is expected to produce an estimated 6,022,500 kilo-watt hours (kWh) of energy per year, potentially offsetting an estimated 4,258 tons of carbon dioxide, bringing Singapore closer to decarbonisation.
The solar farm is equipped with electrical panels, control system and a 22kV transformer. It is also a landing point for the subsea cable that transmits the generated power to the national grid. The floating PV system is designed with a robust constant tension mooring system that is able to withstand changing weather conditions, keeping the platform and all of the operational equipment on board steady. There is also an air-conditioned second deck that doubles-up as a visitor centre and viewing gallery.
The Woodlands project was more challenging compared to other land-based or rooftop installations due to:
- The unpredictable nature of open sea,
- The need to avoid shipping routes and
- The presence of barnacles.
Marine expertise was also required for mooring installation and system design.
Furthermore, the pandemic lockdown last year posed an additional challenge as foreign workers were unable to leave their dormitories.
Frank Phuan, co-founder and chief executive officer of Sunseap Group, Singapore’s leading solar energy provider, said, “This is an important milestone for Sunseap as we believe that offshore space like the sea, reservoirs, lakes… offers exciting opportunities for land-scarce and densely populated cities to tap solar energy. They are places that are unobscured from the sun and with low risks of vandalism or theft.”
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