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Keppel commences work on Singapore's largest single-site rooftop solar panel system at Changi Airport

Bryan Wu
Bryan Wu • 4 min read
Keppel commences work on Singapore's largest single-site rooftop solar panel system at Changi Airport
When completed in early 2025, the solar PV system will have a combined generation capacity of 43 megawatt peak (MWp). Photo: Keppel
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has been appointed by Changi Airport Group (CAG) to design, build, own and operate a large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) system on the rooftop areas of Changi Airport’s terminal buildings, terminal auxiliary structures, airfield and cargo buildings for a period of 25 years. 

When completed in early 2025, the solar PV system will have a combined generation capacity of 43 megawatt peak (MWp), of which 38 MWp will be installed on rooftops, making this Singapore’s largest single-site rooftop solar PV system. 

The remaining 5 MWp of solar generation capacity will come from a solar PV system installed at a 40,000 sqm turf area within Changi Airport’s airfield outside of aircraft operational areas. This will be the first time a solar PV system is installed in the airfield, marking the first step towards maximising solar potential at Changi Airport beyond conventional rooftop spaces.

Combined, the rooftop and airfield solar PV systems are expected to generate sufficient solar energy equal to what is needed to power more than 10,000 four-room HDB flats yearly. With the system, CAG will reduce its carbon emissions by approximately 20,000 tonnes each year, or about 10% of its consumption in 2019.

​​Keppel notes that deploying solar PV systems in the airport involves a set of unique challenges compared to conventional installation at commercial, industrial or residential sites. For example, robust simulations have to be carried out to ensure that the solar panels do not pose glare and glint effects to air traffic controllers and pilots or interfere with communications, navigation and surveillance and meteorological signals. 

The associated installation and maintenance processes will also need to comply with aviation safety and security requirements, including fire safety code requirements prescribed by the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

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The completed PV system will be integrated with Keppel’s state-of-the-art Operations Nerve Centre (ONC) sited within the Keppel Infrastructure@Changi building, which will offer remote monitoring and real-time reporting of solar generation metrics as well as advanced fault detection and diagnostics for predictive maintenance, all of which ensure high system up-time and optimal power generation. 

Keppel’s ONC also deploys artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to form adaptable models for better forecasting and energy management to optimise asset performance and operational outcomes.  

Koh Ming Sue, CAG’s executive vice president for engineering and development, says: “Notwithstanding Singapore’s limitations with renewable energy sources, CAG strives to make Changi a more sustainable aviation hub through reducing carbon footprint from all practical fronts. We have been addressing the airport’s energy demands at its core, which includes upgrading our frontline airport building and systems with best-in-class energy efficient models and expanding our support for the airport community to switch to cleaner energy vehicles.

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“Partnering Keppel in this project, which is Changi Airport’s largest deployment of solar PV system to date and our first foray into solar PV systems in the airfield, we have taken a significant step forward in our decarbonisation journey,” he adds.

CAG has also appointed SolarGy Pte Ltd to transform its airport maintenance and storage centre into a greener facility by installing a 640 kilowatt peak (kWp) rooftop solar PV system, which will cut the facility’s emissions by around 50%. 

Lim Yong Wei, general manager for Keppel’s Energy-as-a-Service Infrastructure Division, says: “We are excited to be the solutions provider for Changi Airport Group’s solarisation efforts. When completed, this 43MWp landmark solar project will contribute significantly to making the Changi air hub greener and testament to Keppel’s capabilities and innovation. Going forward, we hope to continue working with CAG to explore more decarbonisation and sustainability solutions.”

The transaction is not expected to have any material impact on the net tangible assets per share or earnings per share of Keppel for the FY2024 ending Dec 31.

Shares in Keppel closed 2 cents higher or 0.28% up at $7.17 on Feb 14.

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