World’s largest “floatovoltaic” test bed features ABB tech

Anthony Capkun
June 14, 2017
1MW floatovoltaic test bed in Singapore, courtesy ABB.
1MW floatovoltaic test bed in Singapore, courtesy ABB.
June 14, 2017 - Land scarcity has severely limited Singapore’s adoption of solar power, says ABB, adding floating solar panels (a.k.a. floatovoltaics) could be over 10% more efficient than solar panels placed on land, and may be a viable alternative for the city-state, which is surrounded by water.

ABB says it is providing components to a 1-hectare, 1MW floatovoltaic test bed, calling it the world’s largest. The energy generated will be fed into the national grid, providing electricity for up to 250 households.

“This project is perfectly aligned with our Next Level strategy around the energy revolution, and is an important step in collaborating with partners to bring more renewables into the future energy mix,” said Tarak Mehta, president of ABB’s Electrification Products division.

Located in the Tengeh Reservoir, the installation features multiple solar solutions from providers to study the performance and cost-effectiveness of floating solar platforms. ABB supplied 100 kW of TRIO-50 solar inverters to Phoenix Solar, one of several system integrators for the project. These components convert the DC produced in solar panels into AC for use in the grid. Additionally, ABB low-voltage moulded-case and miniature circuit breakers protect the electrical circuits on the water.

Singapore enjoys high average annual solar irradiation of about 1500 kWh/m2, says ABB, making solar an attractive source for renewable energy. The floating solar test-bed will be naturally cooled by the surrounding water, which may make the cells up to 11% more efficient than panels placed on land.

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