Sembcorp and PUB open 122,000-panel floating solar farm in Singapore

Sembcorp Floating Solar Singapore, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sembcorp Industries (Sembcorp) and National Water Agency PUB, have officially opened the Sembcorp Tengeh Floating Solar Farm at the Tengeh Reservoir.

The offshore floating solar farm consists of 122,000 panels spanning across 45 hectares – roughly equivalent to about 45 football fields. The 60 megawatt-peak (MWp) solar photovoltaic (PV) farm is one of the world’s largest inland floating solar PV systems.

Sembcorp Tengeh Floating Solar Farm will be sufficient to power Singapore’s five local water treatment plants. It will provide about 7% of PUB’s annual energy needs and reduce its carbon emissions by about 32 kilotonnes annually, the same as taking 7,000 cars off the roads.

Sembcorp Industries says that, due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, a new engineering and construction technique was devised in order to design a custom-built jig that increased the rate of solar panel assembly by up to 50%.

This project is also the first in the world to deploy advanced drone electroluminescence imaging technology on a utility-scale PV system. Drone electroluminescence imaging captures X-ray-like signals emitted by PV modules to accurately and rapidly pinpoint defects caused by a variety of factors from the manufacturing to the installation stage.

The Sembcorp Tengeh Floating Solar Farm was carefully designed to minimize the impact on the reservoir’s water quality, flora, and fauna. Enough space was left between the panels to improve the airflow and allow sufficient sunlight to reach aquatic life. Additional aerators were also put in place to maintain oxygen levels in the reservoir.

The floats deployed are made using high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is recyclable, UV-resistant, and corrosion-resistant. PUB and Sembcorp will continue to monitor the reservoir closely and take necessary measures to maintain biodiversity and water quality.

Construction of the floating solar PV system commenced in August 2020. The solar farm will make Singapore one of the few countries in the world to have a 100% green waterworks system while contributing to the national goal of quadrupling solar energy deployment by 2025.

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