Located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, the city-state of Singapore holds a number of records: Its residents enjoy one of the longest life expectancies in the world, its infant mortality rate is one of the lowest, and its internet speed is one of the fastest. In addition, its inhabitants are among the wealthiest in the world – the gross domestic product per capita, adjusted for purchasing power, is around 101,500 US dollars, putting it in third place in the world rankings. Unfortunately, there are also records on the negative side: In terms of C02 emissions per capita, the island state is also high up in relevant rankings – with over 7,500 kilowatt hours per year, its per capita electricity consumption is considerably higher than the average value of around 6,100 kilowatt hours per year in the European Union, which isn’t exactly economical, either. The high population and building density in Singapore alone makes it difficult to find locations to generate renewable energies, due to the lack of space.
But the technology-friendly and forward-looking island state has also found a solution – yet another record-breaking one – to this challenge: If there are few suitable areas for solar power plants left on land, why not simply install one at sea: At the end of March 2021, one of the largest floating solar plants in the world was commissioned in the Strait of Johor, which separates Singapore from Malaysia.
More than 13,000 floating solar panels
The installation consists of over 13,000 individual photovoltaic panels mounted on more than 30,000 floats, plus 40 inverters and a 22-kilovolt transformer. A special mooring system withstands heavy seas, and a separate, second floating platform serves as a control and visitor center with a viewing terrace. The mooring also ensures that the plant doesn’t drift off into the Strait of Johor, where there is heavy shipping traffic.