New 10ha Tuas solar farm saves yearly carbon emissions equivalent to planting 150,000 trees

The solar farm comprises 33,580 solar panels.

Ashley Tan | May 09, 2022, 05:56 PM

As part of the country's push towards renewable energy, Singapore now has its first solar farm with an integrated rainwater harvesting system.

The Sembcorp Tuas Solar Farm officially opened on May 6, marking Sembcorp’s first completed ground-mount solar project in Singapore.

Sembcorp's previous solar projects were situated on rooftops or the waters of reservoirs.

33,580 solar panels in total

The Sembcorp Tuas Solar Farm has two sites at Tuas bay Lane and Tuas West Drive. The two sites sit on nearly 10ha of temporary vacant land.

It is designed to be "modular and flexible", according to a Sembcorp press release. The solar panels are mobile and can be redeployed when the land is needed for other uses.

The solar farm comprises 33,580 solar panels and has a combined solar capacity of 17.6MWp.

Photo from Sembcorp

Renewable energy generated is channelled directly to the grid, and the system is expected to produce about 22,025 megawatt hours of power annually.

This is enough to power approximately 4,700 four-room HDB flats for a year.

The solar farm will also help avoid the production of approximately 9,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, which is equivalent to planting almost 150,000 trees.

Integrated rainwater harvesting system

One site of the Sembcorp Tuas Solar Farm, which is located at Tuas Bay Lane, is unique in that it incorporates a first-of-its-kind integrated rainwater harvesting system in Singapore.

Aside from generating solar energy, this system has a dual function as it also collects and treats up to 170,000m3 of rainwater annually.

This is equivalent to the amount required to fill 68 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Rainwater is collected via a drainage network built between the solar panel arrays and connected to an underground water storage tank that has been constructed using a geocellular system.

The modular nature of geocellular systems means that they can be tailored to suit the specific requirements of any site.

The treated rainwater, neutralised and free of contaminants and odour, will mainly be for non-potable use (not for drinking) to clean the solar panels onsite, as well as for solar panel cooling purposes.

Solar panels with a water-based cooling system yield about two to five per cent higher output energy.

Photo from Sembcorp

Helping to reach Singapore's solar energy targets

The Sembcorp Tuas Solar Farm is part of JTC's Solarland programme, which aims to maximise the use of temporary vacant land across Singapore to generate solar energy to the national grid.

Sembcorp Solar Singapore, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sembcorp Industries, was awarded one of the two contracts under JTC’s SolarLand Phase 3 tender in February 2020.

The SolarLand programme currently maximises 70ha of temporary vacant land across Singapore for solar power generation.

When completed by end-2023, the programme will have the largest aggregated mobile solar systems designed and installed in Singapore.

Along with JTC's SolarRoof programme, where solar panels are installed on the rooftops of JTC estates, a total of over 82 megawatt-peak (MWp) of solar energy capacity is expected to be generated through the two programmes over the next two years.

This is enough to power about 20,000 four-room HDB flats a year.

These solar programmes support Singapore's aims of achieving a solar panel deployment target of at least 1.5 gigawatt-peak (GWp) by 2025 and two GWp by 2030, Low Yen Ling, Minister of State at the Ministries of Culture, Community and Youth, and Trade and Industry, shared at the solar farm's opening.

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Top photo from Sembcorp