Awarding the future of solar energy

2013.11.04

Mr Ronnie Koh, CEO of the National Environment Agency (NEA), giving a speech as the Guest-of-Honour at the Solar Pioneer Awards Ceremony

Mr Ronnie Koh, CEO of the National Environment Agency (NEA), giving a speech as the Guest-of-Honour at the Solar Pioneer Awards Ceremony

With solar energy vast becoming the future of energy in Singapore, there have been increasing efforts by the public and private sectors to commit to this clean and renewable source of energy. Some firms have started to realize that investing in solar energy not only reduces carbon footprints, but cuts costs in the long run as well.

The falling cost of solar electricity and innovative business models that help defray the costs of solar assets have encouraged more business owners in the industrial and commercial sectors to turn to solar power. For example, the solar leasing business model, which involves the sale of solar electricity (rather than the sale of solar modules) to building owners, allows solar systems to be installed on building rooftops without any upfront capital costs to the building owners. This has become increasingly popular in Singapore today, for obvious, low-risk reasons.

To recognize and award these players who are early adopters of solar electricity, and to further encourage more players to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable in their businesses, a few years ago the Economic Development Board (EDB) of Singapore launched the Solar Pioneer Awards in Singapore.

This year, the Solar Pioneer Awards winners are:

  • Sheng Siong Supermarkets, Singapore’s home-grown supermarket chain that will implement the largest single photovoltaic (PV) system to-date in a point location in Singapore. With a capacity of at least 1,200 kilowatts (kW), this system will help offset energy consumption in its new Mandai Link Distribution Centre.
  • The Singapore Sports Hub that is installing a 707 kW PV system to offset the energy required by the stadium’s bowl cooling system, making it one of the few carbon neutral stadiums in the world.
  • Pratt & Whitney (Singapore Component Repair) will become the first aerospace company in Singapore to adopt solar technology at a large scale by implementing a 772 kW system on their industrial building rooftop.
  • The Eagle Services Asia, a joint-venture of SIA Engineering Company and Pratt & Whitney, will implement another 1MW system at their Calshot Road facility.
  • The Singapore American School, the first international school in Singapore, has embarked on a 1MW solar leasing project to provide clean energy for the school’s 4,000 students. Its 3356 solar panels are equivalent to planting 500,000 trees.

To support the growing interest in solar energy, the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) will also be establishing the National Solarisation Centre (NSC), which aims to facilitate the large-scale deployment of solar systems in Singapore through the provision of technical expertise to both the public and private sectors.

Solar Pioneer Awards winners: Pratt & Whitney, Singapore Sports Hub, Singapore American School, Eagle Services Asia and Sheng Siong Supermarkets, together with Mr Ronnie Koh and Mr Goh Chee Kiong

Solar Pioneer Awards winners: Pratt & Whitney, Singapore Sports Hub, Singapore American School, Eagle Services Asia and Sheng Siong Supermarkets, together with Mr Ronnie Koh and Mr Goh Chee Kiong

In a speech before the awards ceremony, the Executive Director of Cleantech EDB, Mr. Goh Chee Kiong, said that the $700 million in government funding announced for cleantech investment in 2011 is an encouraging sign that Singapore is moving towards using sustainable and clean energy. “Singapore aspires to be a global clean tech hub,” he says. “And we need to have the technology, markets, capital and talent to do so.”

Yes, Singapore is making progress on the evolving energy front, but will it be enough? It’s up to people to take individual responsibility in terms of consumption and waste. It’s up to people to learn more about energy alternatives that would inevitably cut down on carbon emissions while passing on thousands of dollars in savings directly to consumers – money that could be reinvested into the community, families, or future technological development.

Because we’re all on this planet together, people. It’s time we started acting like it. Congratulations to the Solar Pioneer Awards winners, who are pioneering the way to a sustainable future.  Now, it’s up to the rest of us to follow their example.

The Solar Pioneer Awards Ceremony was held at the PV Asia Pacific Conference at the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) on 30th October.

 

Report prepared by Candice

 

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