Singapore’s Phoenix Solar has inked a deal with Belgian Katoen Natie Singapore (KNS) last week to construct a system of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in Jurong Island. Singapore Incorporation identified this move as a testament to Singapore’s growing technical expertise and industry support, to transform it into Asia’s solar energy hub.
KNS, which owns Belgium’s largest rooftop PV system in Antwerp, intends to use Singapore as a springboard to expand their green energy portfolio in Asia. Singapore was specifically selected for this collaboration as the nation has catalysed solar energy projects, such as the recently commissioned 707k Wp PV system at Singapore’s Sports Hub.
Solar energy is at the core of Singapore’s clean energy industry, which is anticipated to employ 7,000 people and rake in S$1.7 billion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product by 2015. The Republic is strategically located in the Asian Sunbelt, which subjects it to 50% more radiation than other solar energy hubs in the temperate regions. Along with Singapore’s growing technical expertise in tapping the energy form, and industry support, the nation has attracted leading global solar energy businesses such as USA’s Demansys Energy LLC, Germany’s Saferay, and China’s Hanergy to set up in Singapore.
GROWING TECHNICAL EXPERTISE
Singapore has established the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS), a sophisticated research and development (R&D) centre for solar energy that is the top in Asia outside Japan. In addition to R&D, SERIS also funds the National Solarisation Centre (NSC) that promotes the awareness for solar applications among potential customers to stimulate greater adoption in Singapore.
Singapore has also developed eco-town models, such as the Punggol Eco-Town to be used by global giant Panasonic to test and commercialise their solar systems. The first solar leasing project in the country points to how Singapore is a ‘living laboratory’ for solar companies to test-bed and market innovative solutions.
SUPPORT FROM THE INDUSTRY
Last October, the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS) started the country’s first Cleantech Incubator and Accelerator at CleanTech Park, the country’s first eco-business park. The incubator aims to help local and foreign solar energy startups and entrepreneurs to access capital and obtain business and technology advisory, while the accelerator would help international businesses expand their technology and business to the region.
In addition, SEAS also provides enterprise development and advisory services to help clean energy businesses to develop in Singapore. It facilitates partnerships between local SMEs and multinational companies (MNC), by providing a platform called Energy for all Partnership. This platform allows various solar energy companies, financial institutions and the Government to cooperate together in large scale, regional collaborative projects.
Apart from SEAS, the Energy Innovation Programme Office (EIPO) also exists to improve Singapore’s clean energy sector by launching a number of key initiatives. Incepted by Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) and Energy Market Authority (EMA), serves to plan and execute strategies by founding public sector R&D centres, competitive funding, and talent development programmes.
“Singapore possesses distinct competitive advantages and is already strategically positioned to play a strong role in the region’s solar energy industry. By capitalising on its advantages and leveraging on research and innovation, it makes sense for international enterprises to set up a company in Singapore to expand their footprint regionally and globally”, said Ms. Jane Koh, Business Development Manager at Singapore Incorporation.