Could floating solar offer a viable renewable energy option for island countries? Singapore authorities are testing out 10 solar panel systems on what will be the largest floating solar testbed in the world at the Tengeh Reservoir. As Singapore boasts 17 freshwater reservoirs, floating solar could be a perfect option for the country to generate its own clean energy.

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Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) and Public Utilities Board (PUB) are behind the project. The Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) will help evaluate the different systems in the testbed. Eight enterprises from small local companies to large international corporations are participating in the $11 million project.

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As the solar panels will block some sunlight from reaching creatures living in the reservoir, project monitors will scrutinize how the systems impact biodiversity. They’ll also see if the panels influence water quality and evaporation. Because the water beneath the panels could cool them, they may be able to operate more efficiently than those placed on rooftops or the ground.

In a speech, Singapore’s Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said “Given our geography, solar photovoltaic systems are a key technology in Singapore’s efforts to harness renewable energy. Floating photovoltaic systems, those installed over our water bodies, not only help to overcome land constraints, but also have the potential to reduce evaporative losses from our reservoirs.” He said the testbed will be operational by the end of 2016.

The 10 systems will undergo tests for a minimum of six months, and ultimately two will be selected to be scaled up and tested in a second phase. According to EDB, “The success of this project will pave the way for Singapore to conduct mass scale deployment of floating solar PV systems.”

Via Channel NewsAsia

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