Floating Solar Farm The Size Of Seven Football Fields Opens In Singapore

A new floating solar farm has recently been launched off the coast of Singapore. With 13,312 solar panels, 40 inverters, and more than 30,000 floats, the solar farm is one of the largest of its kind in the world. It is expected to produce 6 million kW-hours of energy per year. This clean energy is expected to offset 4,258 tons of carbon dioxide, which is about the same amount of carbon more than 900 passenger vehicles create in a year.

Singapore is a large emitter.

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Although Singapore is one of the smallest countries in Asia, it is one of the biggest emitters per capita. However, Singapore’s small size has made it difficult for the country to invest in greener technologies. Singapore does not have rivers to support hydroelectricity or strong winds for turbines. So, they turned to the sea.

"After exhausting the rooftops and the available land, which is very scarce, the next big potential is actually our water area," Jen Tan, a senior member of the solar project, told France 24.

A subsea cable transports the energy.

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The cable attaches the panels to the national power grid. But, being afloat, the farm faces numerous challenges. Subodh Mhaisalkar, executive director at Nanyang Technological University’s Energy Research Institute, explained to the Straits Times that "One needs to contend with waves, tidal currents, as well as biofouling (the accumulation of unwanted micro-organisms like plants and algae on surfaces, resulting in degradation) that grow rapidly in tropical waters."

The sea is an unpredictable environment.

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The solar platform includes a robust constant tension mooring system. The system helps the platform adapt to changing weather conditions and keeps all of the operational equipment steady.

"This is an important milestone for Sunseap as we believe that offshore space like the sea, reservoirs, lakes etc., 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," explained Frank Phuan, co-founder of Sunseap Group that installed the platform, in a press statement.

This is a step towards Singapore’s larger climate goals, but more is needed.

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Singapore anticipates receiving 2% of their energy needs by solar by 2025, which they expect to expand to 3% by 2030. That will be enough energy to power 350,000 households per year. By 2050, they plan to halve the carbon emissions set in 2030. Beyond that, their goal is to become net-zero as soon as feasible.

However, Singapore has been criticized for not doing enough. The Climate Action Tracker, which monitors government pledges, has classified these targets as “highly insufficient”. They project that Singapore will remain heavily dependent upon fossil fuels for too long. Hopefully, this latest solar project will inspire similar investment in green energy.

h/t: France 24

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