In the absence of vast expanse of land the Singapore national water agency has decided to utilize the country’s water reserves to tap solar power resources.
The PUB, formerly the Public Utilities Board, plans to set up a floating solar power system on the Tengeh Reservoir. This project will be in addition to a rooftop solar power project it plans to set up at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks. These projects are expected to meet the annual average electricity demand of 1,000 nearby households as well as the a portion of Choa Chu Kang Waterworks’ electricity requirement for water treatment. While the project was approved in 2011, the tender for the project was awarded recently with the work expected to start by the middle of this month.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Balakrishnan explained the importance of sustainable energy in Singapore’s water sector. Singapore, being an island nation, has limited energy and water resources and has to rely on energy-intensive water processing mechanisms like reverse osmosis.
Island nations have a tough time dealing with energy availability as they are significantly dependent on imports. Expensive imported energy leads to higher power bills and, in case of Singapore, higher water bills as well.
Now the floating solar power system would help reduce water loss due to evaporation and reduce algal growth.
Floating solar power systems could prove to be very beneficial to areas that lack adequate land area to develop large-scale solar power projects. The benefits of reduced water loss to evaporation is also pushing some governments to implement such projects.
The best example of this are the canal top solar power projects in the Indian state of Gujarat. The state government plans to mount solar panels over the Sardar Sarovar canal to reduce water loss.
Another advantage of floating solar power systems is that there is no need for acquiring costly land for the project. This is a critical advantage in island countries like Singapore that have to resort to land reclamation.