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Bishan train depot to run on solar energy by year end

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s largest train depot at Bishan will run on solar energy by the end of the year, after SMRT signed a deal with clean energy provider Sunseap Leasing.

Bishan train depot to run on solar energy by year end

The new power system will be capable of meeting Bishan depot’s operational energy needs, excluding train movements within the depot. TODAY FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s largest train depot at Bishan will run on solar energy by the end of the year, after SMRT signed a deal with clean energy provider Sunseap Leasing.

The power system to be installed at the premises could potentially generate enough electricity to power 270 four-room public housing (HDB) flats for a year, and will be capable of meeting the depot’s operational energy needs — excluding train movements within the depot. 

The other rail depot to tap on solar energy by the end of the year will be the new Tuas depot, which will serve the North-South and East-West Lines, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) told TODAY. 

For the Bishan depot, SMRT and Sunseap said in a joint statement on Thursday (May 19) that a pilot one Megawatt-peak (MWp) solar photovoltaic (PV) system will be set up there and it is expected to be operational by the end of October. It will cover an initial area of 10,000sqm on the depot’s roof.

Mr Brandon Lee, Sunseap’s business development manager, said that this would be part of the first phase of the installation. 

“If proven to be successful, they will further expand this system by another 4MWp, going to a total of 5MWp for the Bishan depot,” he said.

On the leasing model, Mr Lee said that SMRT would have to pay based on the amount of energy generated by the solar panels. “The leasing model is a performance-based model — when it generates power, it generates revenue for Sunseap,” he said.

With the new system, SMRT would be able to reduce its carbon footprint by 553 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, the transport operator said.

On whether solar panels would be installed at other train depots and facilities, SMRT said that it would conduct feasibility studies before deciding on other possible implementations, such as at above-ground MRT stations.

In 2014, the LTA announced plans to harness solar energy at two new train depots by 2016: Gali Batu and Tuas depots. 

It was part of the first tender it called for contractors to design, supply and install a 1.96MWp solar PV system at the rail depots. The project was awarded to Germany-based group Phoenix Solar, which develops, builds and operates large-scale solar PV plants.

The Gali Batu depot in Woodlands, which opened late last year and serves the Downtown Line, was the first train depot to have solar panels installed on its roofs. This and the one at Tuas presented an ideal opportunity to harvest solar energy, LTA said, because they have large roof areas and are not surrounded by tall buildings.

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