One of the world’s largest combined solar and storage projects says it will soon be supplying Singapore with zero emissions power – and it’s going to be floating on water.
Singapore-based clean energy developer Sunseap says it will build a giant 2,200MW floating solar farm on a reservoir on Indonesia’s Batam Island, after securing a memorandum of understanding with Indonesian government authority Badan Pengusahaan Batam.
The project will cover an area of 1,600 hectares and is expected to become the largest floating solar farm in the world.
It will also be paired with more than 4,000MWh of energy storage, making it one of the world’s largest combined solar and storage projects – floating or otherwise.
The $US2 billion (A$2.7 billion) solar farm will be installed on the Duriangkang Reservoir, which serves as a source of freshwater to Indonesia’s Batam Island, which sits just 20km from Singapore, across the Singapore Strait.
The placement of the floating solar farm on the reservoir will have the additional benefit of reducing evaporation. At the same time, the proximity to the water will allow the solar farm to operate at lower temperatures, improving overall efficiency.
Sunseap co-founder and CEO Frank Phuan said the “hyper-scale” project could pave the way for similar scale clean energy projects across south-east Asia.
“This hyper-scale project is a significant milestone for Sunseap coming soon after we had completed Singapore’s first offshore floating solar farm along the Straits of Johor,” he said.
“We believe that floating solar systems will go a long way to address the land constraints that urbanised parts of Southeast Asia face in tapping renewable energy.”
The expansion of floating solar projects presents an interesting new front in a race to meet the demand for zero-emissions electricity supply for Singapore.
While Sunseap said that power supplied by the Batam Island project is likely to be consumed locally, there is the prospect that any excess power could be exported to Singapore via an undersea cable, the same market being targeted by Australia’s Sun Cable consortium.
The Sun Cable project – backed by billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest – wants to build a10GW solar farm (the world’s biggest) in the Northern Territory and a giant battery of up to 30GWh to supply Singapore with renewable electricity via an undersea cable.
The Sun Cable project, formally known as the Australia-ASEAN Power Link, would require 3,750km of undersea linkages – but the Batam Island project would be located just 50km from Singapore.
Sunseap has made a push into the Australian market, but it has been a rocky experience. The group took a minority stake in commercial solar installer Todae, which subsequently went into administration last year after its sales took a substantial hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic.