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PUB to study installion of solar panels at reservoirs

SINGAPORE — The PUB is conducting a nine-month feasibility study to explore greater use of reservoirs and facilities to deploy solar PV panels, the national water agency announced in a press release today (Nov 23).

Lower Seletar reservoir. TODAY file photo.

Lower Seletar reservoir. TODAY file photo.

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SINGAPORE — The PUB has embarked on a nine-month study to explore the possibility of installing solar panels at its reservoirs, including floating ones, and at its land-based facilities, as part of broader efforts to promote sustainable use of energy resources, said the national water agency in a press release today (Nov 23).

The study comes on the back of another planned study at Tengeh Reservoir to assess the environmental impact of such installations on reservoirs. The new S$338,000 study will assess the extent to which solar panels can be installed at 10 reservoirs identified for this study, such as Kranji, Upper Peirce and Lower Seletar, as well as facilities such as waterworks and water reclamation plants. 

It will also assess the amount of solar energy that can be generated before proposing a business model and implementation plan, said PUB.

“With Singapore reaching a critical mass for solar installations coupled with the declining cost of solar technology, PUB wants to ride on this wave and explore how some of our reservoirs can support floating solar systems,” said PUB’s chief sustainability officer, Tan Nguan Sen.

“Through the study, we want to find out the amount of space that is suitable and available for solar deployment, as well as the possible solar panel configuration that could yield optimum energy output. For example, sufficient open space must be set aside for operations, such as maintenance and surveillance, in the reservoirs identified in the study,” he said.

Noting that some of the reservoirs are also used for water activities, Mr Tan added that the study will take into account these operational needs, and determine the usable space and configuration of solar panels. 

“Together with other solar energy projects PUB has embarked on, we are on track to diversifying our energy options from conventional, non-renewable fossil fuels, contributing to a smaller carbon footprint and promoting more sustainable use of energy resources”, he said. 

Together with the Economic Development Board and Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore, PUB will be test-bedding a floating solar system at Tengeh Reservoir when solar panels are installed next year. The study will look at whether this system affects the reservoir’s rate of evaporation, biodiversity and water quality, among other things. 

Other solar-energy projects the PUB is involved in include installing a 1 Megawatt peak (MWp) rooftop solar panel at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks in May, which has been generating solar energy to power part of the plant’s water treatment.

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