SINGAPORE, July 14 (Reuters) – Singapore on Wednesday unveiled one of the world’s largest floating solar panel farms, covering an area the size of 45 football fields and producing enough electricity to power the five processing plants of island water.
The project is part of the efforts of the land-scarce Southeast Asian city-state to achieve its goal of quadruple solar power production by 2025 to combat climate change.
Located on a reservoir in western Singapore, the state-of-the-art 60 megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) farm was built by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sembcorp Industries (SCIL.SI).
The solar farm could help reduce carbon emissions by about 32 kilotons per year, which is equivalent to taking 7,000 cars off the roads, according to a joint statement by the company and Singapore’s national water agency PUB .
Unlike conventional rooftop solar panels, floating panels perform between 5% and 15% better due to the cooling effect of water, and are not impacted by shading from other buildings, according to a presentation on the project.
The electricity produced from the 122,000 solar panels at the 45-hectare (111.2-acre) site is expected to make Singapore one of the few countries in the world to have a water treatment system entirely powered by sustainable energy.
To allay concerns about the environmental impact of such projects, PUB said an assessment was conducted before the solar panels were installed to ensure there was no significant impact on wildlife or water quality.
âIt has been carefully designed to improve air circulation and allow sunlight to pass through the water (to reach aquatic life),â said Jen Tan, regional manager at Sembcorp Industries.
The solar panels are designed to last 25 years and drones will be used to help with maintenance.
Currently, four other floating solar panel projects are underway in Singapore.
Report by Chen Lin in Singapore Editing by Ed Davies and Karishma Singh
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