Sunseap to build world's largest floating solar farm on Batam

Energy firm Sunseap Group will build the world's largest floating solar farm and power storage system on the Indonesian island of Batam, it announced yesterday.

The US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) complex will be on the Duriangkang Reservoir on southern Batam island, with construction slated to begin next year and be completed in 2024.

Sunseap signed an agreement to develop the project with BP Batam, the local investment and development authority.

The floating solar farm is projected to have a capacity of 2.2 gigawatt-peak and will span around 1,600ha, making it the world's largest. The energy storage system will have a capacity exceeding 4,000 megawatt-hours.

Sunseap expects the solar farm to generate more than 2,600GWh of electricity per year, potentially offsetting over 1.8 million tonnes of carbon a year. This is equivalent to taking around 400,000 cars off the road a year, it said.

Sunseap noted that the Duriangkang Reservoir is the largest on Batam and was originally a saltwater bay. "With a volume of 101.2 million cubic m, it supports more than 50 per cent of the freshwater supply to Batam island," it said.

"The floating solar panels will (reduce) evaporation, thereby retaining more water within the reservoir. Simultaneously, the water will keep the solar panels cool, thereby generating more clean energy and creating a synergistic relationship."

The energy generated and stored will supply users around the clock, Sunseap said. Some will be consumed on Batam; the rest could be exported to Singapore about 50km away using a sub-sea cable, it added.

Sunseap is also planning to set up an academy in Batam to support the hiring of and transferring of skills to more than 3,000 locals.

Sunseap chief executive and co-founder Frank Phuan said: "This hyperscale project is a significant milestone for Sunseap.

"We believe that floating solar systems will go a long way to address the land constraints that urbanised parts of South-east Asia face in tapping renewable energy."

BP Batam chairman Muhammad Rudi added: "This investment by Sunseap will be a timely boost for Batam's industries as they seek to reduce (their) carbon footprint.

"At the same time, it will create jobs and transfer skills to Batam's clean energy sector."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2021, with the headline 'Sunseap to build world's largest floating solar farm on Batam'. Subscribe