Singapore’s National Water Agency part of the utilities agency PUB has announced plans to tender for 2 floating photovoltaics (FPV) power plants for a total of 56.7MW after initial tests proved a number of benefits. 

The water agency is calling tenders for engineering and environmental studies for a 50MWp FPV plant on Tengeh Reservoir and a 6.7MWp FPV system in Upper Peirce reservoir in Singapore, which was the test bed for FPV systems that were launched on the reservoir in October, 2016. 

The FPV systems planned would only occupy about 2% of Upper Peirce reservoir’s water surface area and about one-third of Tengeh Reservoir’s water surface area, according to PUB.

PUB noted that test results on the Upper Peirce reservoir had not only demonstrated that PV modules performed better than a typical rooftop solar PV systems in Singapore, due to the cooler temperatures of being water bound but that there had been no observable changes in water quality or impact on wildlife from ongoing studies on water quality and biodiversity.

Tan Nguan Sen, PUB’s chief sustainability officer said, “PUB will continue to study the feasibility of adopting clean energy in our installations. This will help us reduce our dependence on grid energy and carbon footprint. However, the lack of deployable land space imposes a limit on what we can reap from this clean energy. The natural option is our vast water surface but we want to study the possible impact and relevant mitigating measures very carefully before reaching a decision to proceed with large-scale floating solar PV deployment. We will continue to consult relevant groups as the studies progress.”

PUB is planning to carry out a comprehensive environmental study that includes both reservoirs before making any decision on implementing the FPV plans. The studies will look at the impacts on all flora and fauna and water quality of the reservoirs as well as recommend any mitigation or avoidance measures and monitoring requirements deemed necessary. 

PUB has previously installed land-based PV systems at other water facilities such as Choa Chu Kang Waterworks and Marina Barrage. PUB is also participating in HDB’s solar leasing contracts, under the government-led solar programme SolarNova, to install solar PV systems at Changi Water Reclamation Plant, Bedok Waterworks and WaterHub.

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