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Singapore Government to Build the Biggest Solar Farm in the Southern Islands

Solar farms, also known as solar parks, are large solar installations. They are typically used as power plants, much like natural gas power plants. Solar farms, as opposed to residential solar panels, instal their solar panels into the ground over large areas of land. The panels absorb sunlight all day and direct it to a receiver filled with molten salt. When the salt reaches 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, it stores the energy as heat so it will be ready when needed. The heat will turn water into steam when a grid needs power.

Solar energy is Singapore’s most promising renewable energy source for electricity generation. Solar energy is environmentally friendly, produces no emissions, and contributes to Singapore’s energy security. However, there are some obstacles to large-scale solar deployment in Singapore, such as land constraints and local weather conditions. Shell and government agency JTC Corporation have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding for an offshore solar farm, both parties announced in a press release last June 2021, to prepare for a future in which solar energy could form a larger portion of Singapore’s energy mix.

The solar farm is the size of 112 football fields, one of Singapore’s largest yet, is being planned on Semakau Island. The MOU is supported by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Energy Market Authority (EMA) and was signed at a ceremony on June 17. According to the four parties in a joint press release, the solar farm will occupy 60ha and have a capacity of at least 72 megawatt-peak, enough to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 37,000 tonnes per year. The energy generated is enough to power up to 17,500 households for a year.

The farm will also be the first large-scale solar project in Singapore to use a sanitary landfill to generate clean energy. This project is in line with Singapore’s goal of increasing solar deployment to at least 2 gigatons peak by 2030. According to the press release, if the farm is successful, it will also help Singapore reduce its carbon emissions and meet the country’s growing clean energy needs.

“Close collaborations” like these are part of JTC’s SolarLand initiative to optimise available land for solar generation in support of Singapore’s clean energy switch, said JTC CEO.

“JTC is piloting new sustainable energy innovations with Shell to maximise the use of renewable energy solutions for our industries. This project is an example of how we are tapping available land to double up for solar generation to maximise renewable energy generation,” he then stated.

The Semakau Island farm, as per Shell, JTC, EMA, and NEA, will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 37,000 tonnes per year. Its proximity to Shell’s Pulau Bukom energy and chemicals park will also make it easier to incorporate this renewable energy source into its operations.

In the long haul, Shell hopes to transition its Bukom park’s focus away from crude oil and fuel-based products and toward new, low-carbon value chains. As the climate crisis worsens, it has pledged to cut its carbon dioxide emissions in Singapore by a third within a decade and to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050.

Singapore’s research and testing efforts are aimed at improving the performance of solar systems and developing innovative methods of integrating solar energy systems into its urban environment. Solar energy also improves the country’s energy security because it is produced in Singapore. Natural gas, on the other hand, is entirely imported.

Singapore is exploring a variety of different options for energy supply and security, including regional power grids and emerging low-carbon alternatives such as low-carbon hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation, and storage, as part of its efforts to continually explore new options for energy supply and security. While some existing technologies such as nuclear may not be viable today, Singapore will continue to monitor the progress of nuclear energy technologies and build capabilities to better understand nuclear science and technology.

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