Construction of S’pore’s largest floating solar park at Kranji reservoir to begin in 2025

SINGAPORE – Construction work on a new mega floating solar farm is expected to begin at Kranji Reservoir in 2025, now that an environmental study has found that installing solar panels is unlikely to have a major impact on biodiversity there .

The project, which will be the country’s largest solar park to date, will be a major boost to Singapore’s efforts to harness more renewable energy.

The solar park is expected to be able to produce 141 MW peak (MWp) of clean energy, or 112.5 MWp when converted to AC, which is the voltage used by the power grid and most electrical appliances in Singapore.

This will contribute about 7 per cent of Singapore’s target of 2 gigawatt-peak of solar capacity by 2030, according to the environmental assessment report. The 2 GWp target can generate enough energy to meet the annual electricity needs of about 350,000 homes.

According to the Energy Market Authority (EMA), Singapore’s solar capacity is around 1.2 GWp in the first quarter of 2024.

The idea of ​​the solar park was first mooted in 2018 by the Economic Development Board (EDB), which had launched a request for information to explore the possibility of a 100 MWp floating solar panel system for private sector use.

EDB then said that as businesses turn to renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprint, the availability of renewable energy in Singapore is seen as a favorable consideration for investments and business expansions.

In 2019, EDB selected information technology company Malkoha, a subsidiary of Meta, which also owns the social media platform Facebook, to study the technical feasibility of the project and its potential environmental impacts.

The results of the environmental study were published online on June 7 and concluded that the impacts of the construction and operation of the solar park on biodiversity in the reservoir could “be adequately managed with mitigation measures.”

Construction work on the Kranji Solar Park will begin in 2025 and the solar park will be operational around 2027-2028.

Kranji Reservoir is situated near several ecologically sensitive areas such as Kranji Marshes, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Mandai Mangroves and Marshes.

According to the environmental impact assessment, carried out by environmental consultancy ERM for Malkoha from 2020 to 2023, several bird species of conservation interest were identified as feeding in the reservoir or around its edges.

These species, consisting of migratory and resident waterfowl, feed mainly on fish in the reservoir and often forage in the central western area of ​​the coast, near the Kranji mudflats, and in the southern part of the reservoir. , says the report. Some migratory water birds also feed on the aquatic plants in the reservoir.

Many of these birds are nationally endangered, including the little tern, purple heron, and white-winged tern.

To mitigate the potential impact of the project on these species, only 21.5 percent of the reservoir surface will be covered with solar panels, and a limit of 50 meters must be established between the panels and the western coast, according to the recommendations of the report.

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