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Schneider Electric, Ikea tap solar power in Singapore

Singapore

FRENCH energy management company Schneider Electric and Swedish furniture group Ikea Singapore have moved to tap solar for their electricity needs in Singapore.

The former will use solar energy generated by offsite rooftop solar systems, while the latter has installed two different systems at its outlets.

Under the agreement with solar energy retailer Sun Electric, Schneider Electric's retrofitted office in Kallang will use 2,600 megawatt-hours of solar energy each year, making up 45 per cent of its energy needs in Singapore.

The solar power will be generated from six rooftop solar systems - four owned by Sharikat National, one by Cambridge Industrial Trust and one by JTC - sited across the rest of the island, as well as Schneider Electric's own rooftop. Schneider Electric Singapore country president Damien Dhellemmes said the hybrid energy model provided by Sun Electric, which includes a smart energy management solution, offers the firm greater energy efficiency and brings it a step closer to meeting its global target of achieving 80 per cent renewable energy across all facilities worldwide by 2020, and 100 per cent by 2030.

Sun Electric, which started operations in 2013, connects consumers who wish to adopt renewable energy options and yet face space constraints, with those who have excess rooftop space. In doing so, it effectively separated the generation of solar power from its consumption.

Such off-site solar power generation was first highlighted when Apple in November 2015 signed a deal with another solar energy retailer, Sunseap, to receive power generated by solar energy systems on the rooftops of other buildings, on top of those generated by its own.

Among those who have provided their rooftop space to Sun Electric on a large scale is Sharikat National which is engaged in warehousing, construction, and food management.

The firm has signed up 12 building rooftops for Sun Electric's programme known as SolarSpace, with combined installed capacity of 4.68 megawatts. Four of these, with installed capacity of 1.23 megawatts generating 1.599 GWh of energy, will be used for Schneider Electric.

The rest will be channelled to other smaller- and medium-sized corporate customers, and set aside for potential use by homeowners when the electricity market is fully liberalised later this year, said Sun Electric.

Sun Electric currently has 2 MW of solar capacity installed, and foresees reaching 15 MW by the end of the year. JTC in June last year also gave Sun Electric the rights to install solar panels on the rooftops of 27 JTC buildings, and to export the solar energy into the grid which can also be sold to users in other buildings.

Separately, Ikea Singapore has spent over S$4 million on two solar projects at its two outlets that it estimates can save the firm S$3.7 million in total over the next 10 years.

In Alexandra, it installed a large-scale solar cooling system - in place of outdated conventional chillers - that converts solar heat into air conditioning for its store and warehouse. This not only reduces its carbon emissions by 428 metric tonnes a year, but also lasts at least twice as long as conventional chiller systems, said the firm.

In Tampines, a newly installed solar power system will generate 1.3 million kWh a year, which will be used to run lights and other electrical appliances.

The group is also now incorporating renewable energy into new and existing stores in Malaysia and Thailand.