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Sunseap partners Huawei to generate solar energy efficiently for Singapore

Nurdianah Md Nur
Nurdianah Md Nur6/2/2022 08:30 AM GMT+08  • 3 min read
Sunseap partners Huawei to generate solar energy efficiently for Singapore
Sunseap's floating platform is estimated to produce up to 6,022,500 kWh of energy per year, enough to power 1,250 four-room public housing flats in Singapore. Photo: Albert Chua/The Edge Singapore
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With temperatures soaring and weather events becoming more extreme, sustainability is currently one of the hot topics across industries globally.

This might have been spurred by the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (also known as COP26), which produced new “building blocks” to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement through actions that can get the world on a more sustainable, low-carbon pathway forward.

In the case of Singapore, it launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030 last year to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by or around 2050. However, finding alternative methods to generate electricity is challenging for Singapore as it lacks access to natural and renewable energy sources, such as wind and hydroelectric power.

Fortunately, Singapore draws a high average annual solar irradiance. It, therefore, aims to quadruple solar energy deployment to 1.5 GW-peak by 2025, with further plans to reach 2 GW-peak by 2030.

Enabling an offshore floating solar farm

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One company that is helping the city-state to attain that goal is Sunseap Group, a solar energy solutions provider in Singapore.

Unlike the typical solar energy projects that use rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems, Sunseap developed a five-hectare floating solar farm — equivalent to five soccer fields — on seawater in the Straits of Johor to generate clean energy.

The challenge in developing the offshore floating solar farm is that the open sea is subject to a range of conditions. Fluctuations in temperature, rough swells, the corrosive nature of saltwater, and the likelihood of microorganisms, algae and other sea creatures accumulating on surfaces can cause PV system components like inverters to degrade quickly.

To overcome that, Sunseap is leveraging Huawei’s field-proven smart string inverters — the Huawei SUN2000-90KTL-H2 — to make the offshore floating solar farm more efficient, reliable and safe.

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Since Huawei’s string inverters are portable, they can be installed directly on the floating platform, next to the PV panels.

“This eliminated the need for a Direct Current (DC) cable hose and DC combiner boxes, reducing costs and deployment times. [Given] the unique design of the inverters, heat is also dissipated more efficiently, increasing the overall reliability of the entire solar PV system,” says Shawn Tan, Sunseap’s vice-president of engineering.

According to Huawei, its smart string inverters have undergone a series of tests for salt corrosion and heat dissipation. They are proven to be resilient to harsh environments and temperatures ranging from –55°C to 80°C, which help prevent rust and general material wear and tear at Sunseap’s floating solar farm.

Additionally, deploying Huawei’s smart string inverters has helped Sunseap streamline its operations and maintenance (O&M) process. Combining the inverters with Huawei’s intelligent O&M platform has enabled Sunseap’s engineers to execute routine checks on the farm remotely.

“We [can now] carry out routine inspection and servicing of the plant equipment, the floats, and the mooring lines with greater convenience and ease. Huawei’s technology is simply a game-changer: Not only can we diagnose plant issues remotely, but we can also troubleshoot without having to be physically on-site,” says Wilson Tsen, manager of business development and project management at Sunseap.

With 13,312 solar panels, 40 inverters, and more than 30,000 floats, Sunseap’s offshore floating solar farm is estimated to produce up to 6,022,500 kWh of energy per year. That is enough supply to power 1,250 four-room public housing flats in Singapore, offsetting an estimated 4,258 tons of carbon dioxide.

Besides this project with Sunseap, Huawei has also worked with its eco-system partners to develop more than 30 scenario-based solutions, striving to pave a digital path to carbon neutrality. So far, Huawei has established extensive partnerships with more than 190 electric power companies worldwide.

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