PUB to extend floating solar panel trials at reservoirs

Tender called for studies at Tengeh and Upper Peirce reservoirs
CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 29 Sep 17;

SINGAPORE — The national water agency is expanding its trials to test the feasibility of deploying floating solar energy panels on reservoirs, following the successful roll-out of the world’s largest floating solar test-bed at Tengeh Reservoir last year.


On Friday (Sept 29), the PUB called for tenders for engineering and environmental studies for a 50 megawatt peak (MWp) floating solar photovoltaic (PV) system in Tengeh Reservoir and a 6.7MWp floating solar PV system in Upper Peirce Reservoir.

The proposed Tengeh system could potentially take up one-third of the reservoir’s water surface area, and power up to 12,500 four-room Housing and Development Board homes.

The Upper Peirce system is estimated to occupy about 2 per cent of the reservoir’s water surface area, and can power about 1,500 four-room flats.

Last October, Tengeh Reservoir became the world’s largest floating solar test-bed atop a hectare of waters. The S$11 million pilot of 10 PV systems at the reservoir was enough to power 250 four-room HDB flats for a year.

On Friday, the PUB said the results of the test-bed so far “show that the system performed better than a typical rooftop solar PV system in Singapore, due to the cooler temperatures of the reservoir environment”.

It added that to date, there were also “no observable changes in water quality in the reservoir and no significant impact on wildlife from ongoing studies on water quality and biodiversity”, hence it plans to further explore floating solar PV systems at two more locations.

Upper Peirce Reservoir was chosen as a potential location due to its close proximity to the Chestnut Avenue Waterworks, which will allow the solar energy generated to be fed directly to the Waterworks for its water treatment operations, helping it reduce its reliance on grid energy, said the PUB.

The PUB said it would be carrying out comprehensive environmental studies at the two reservoirs before making any decision on implementation.

It has also consulted environmental groups such as Nature Society of Singapore on the scope of the environmental studies, and will continue to consult relevant groups as the projects develop.
It added that there will be no infringement on forested areas.

While most solar PV panels are deployed on land or rooftops, waterbodies with significant surface areas present greater potential especially in land-scarce countries like Singapore, explained the PUB. 


PUB’s chief sustainability officer Tan Nguan Sen said: “The natural option is our vast water surface but we want to study the possible impact and relevant mitigating measures very carefully before reaching a decision to proceed with large-scale floating solar PV deployment.”

The Republic invested over S$30 million in alternative energy tests in 2016. Besides the test-bed at Tengeh Rerservoir, a micro-grid system — which consolidates power generated from multiple renewable energy sources — was also tested at Semakau Island.


Siting solar energy farms at reservoirs
PUB calling for tenders to study impact on habitats at Tengeh, Upper Peirce reservoirs
Fabian Koh and Audrey Tan Straits Times 30 Sep 17;

Reservoirs could soon play host to floating solar energy farms, national water agency PUB announced in a press statement yesterday.

It said it was planning to explore the implementation of floating solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in reservoirs to utilise their vast surface areas.

It is calling for tenders for engineering and environmental studies for such systems in Tengeh Reservoir and Upper Peirce Reservoir.


Solar energy, which is renewable, reduces Singapore's reliance on fossil fuels and is in line with national climate-change mitigation pledges.

While most solar panels are deployed on land or rooftops, the use of water bodies is beneficial for land-scarce places like Singapore.

A floating solar PV system test bed was launched at Tengeh Reservoir in October last year. It has been shown to perform better than its rooftop counterparts, because of cooler temperatures in its surrounding environment.

Water quality and wildlife were not affected, said PUB.

Potentially, the energy generated could power about 12,500 four-room Housing Board homes.

PUB has consulted environmental groups and will carry out environmental studies at the two reservoirs before making any decision on implementation.

"PUB will continue to study the feasibility of adopting clean energy in our installations. This will help us reduce our dependence on grid energy and carbon footprint. But the lack of deployable land space puts a limit on what we can reap from this clean energy," said PUB chief sustainability officer Tan Nguan Sen.

"The natural option is our vast water surface, but we want to study the possible impact and mitigating measures carefully before reaching a decision to proceed with large-scale floating solar PV deployment."

Conservationist Tony O'Dempsey said he applauds PUB's efforts to include environmental impact assessments in the project and for engaging nature groups. "Of course, our greatest concern is for the Upper Peirce Reservoir site, as the introduction of infrastructure into or adjacent to the (Central Catchment Nature Reserve next door) has the potential to impact natural habitats.

"I think we should be looking at other reservoirs as alternatives. The Lower Seletar Waterworks off Seletar West Link is also a potential beneficiary of direct connection to solar panels that could be deployed in Lower Seletar Reservoir. Other reservoirs may also offer similar possibilities as alternatives."


PUB to explore using reservoirs as solar energy farms
Fabian Koh and Audrey Tan Straits Times 29 Sep 17;

SINGAPORE - Reservoirs could soon play host to floating solar energy farms, PUB announced in a press release on Friday (Sept 29).

Singapore's national water agency said it is planning to explore the implementation of floating solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in reservoirs, to utilise their vast surface areas.

It is calling for tenders for engineering and environmental studies for such systems in Tengeh Reservoir and Upper Peirce Reservoir.

Solar energy - which is renewable - reduces the country's reliance on fossil fuels and is in line with national climate change mitigation pledges.

While most solar panels are deployed on land or rooftops, the use of water bodies is especially beneficial for land-scarce countries like Singapore.

A floating solar PV system test-bed was launched at Tengeh Reservoir in October last year.

It has been shown to perform better than its rooftop counterparts, due to cooler temperatures of the surrounding environment.

Water quality and wildlife were also not affected, said PUB.

Potentially, the energy generated could power about 12,500 four-room HDB homes.

PUB will carry out environmental studies at the two reservoirs before making any decision on implementation, and has also consulted environmental groups.

"PUB will continue to study the feasibility of adopting clean energy in our installations. This will help us reduce our dependence on grid energy and carbon footprint. However, the lack of deployable land space imposes a limit on what we can reap from this clean energy," said PUB's chief sustainability officer Tan Nguan Sen.

"The natural option is our vast water surface, but we want to study the possible impact and relevant mitigating measures very carefully before reaching a decision to proceed with large-scale floating solar PV deployment."

Conservationist Tony O’Dempsey said he applauds PUB’s efforts to include environmental impact assessments in the development and for its engagement with nature groups.

“Of course our greatest concern is for the Upper Peirce Reservoir site, as the introduction of infrastructure into or adjacent to the nature reserve has the potential to impact natural habitats,” he told The Straits Times.

“I think we should be looking at other reservoirs as alternatives to Upper Peirce. The Lower Seletar water works off the Seletar West Link is also a potential beneficiary of direct connection to solar panels that could be deployed on the Lower Seletar reservoir. Other reservoirs may also offer similar possibilities as alternatives and I have encouraged the PUB to look into these alternatives to Upper Peirce Reservoir.”

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