Space-constrained Singapore is looking to water as well as rooftops for solar energy as the city’s population continues to grow and demand more energy.

Singapore is one of the most densely populated cities in the world and lacks land for large-scale solar plants compared with the likes of China or Dubai. Therefore, they are now implementing Solar Nova, an accelerator program designed to aggregate demand and facilitate installation, as well as use reservoirs to host large-scale solar power projects.

900,000 tons of CO2 will be saved if Singapore achieves the Solar Nova and floating PV targets

Cities100 – 2017

The city is developing floating solar panels that can be deployed on 17 available freshwater reservoirs. The first project under development will sit on the Tengeh reservoir and act as a test bed for future installations. Eight companies will have the chance to deploy panels, and after six months of performance monitoring, the two most efficient systems will be selected for additional deployments. In addition to this project, Singapore is also implementing Solar Nova, which aims to facilitate installation of 350 MW of solar across the city by 2020. In order to achieve this, there is a leasing arrangement in place where solar companies install and own the equipment and the customer pays lower utility fees each month.

The challenge

Almost all of Singapore’s energy – primarily natural gas – is imported. By investing in solar PV, Singapore can reduce both its dependence on fuel imports and CO2 emissions.


Economic The Solar Nova and floating PV programs will position Singapore as a regional innovation hub for solar and green tech. The floating solar market alone is estimated to be worth $2.7 billion by 2025.

Environmental The floating PV test project will determine how panels affect water quality and biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems.

Social Schools and universities are using the floating solar systems as an educational tool to demonstrate renewable energy in action as well as consider how these systems may affect the natural world.

About Singapore

Singapore is a sovereign city-state in Southeast Asia. Singapore is a global commerce, finance and transport hub. Singapore ranks 5th on the UN Human Development Index and the 3rd highest GDP per capita. It is ranked highly in education, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety, and housing. Although income inequality is high, 90% of homes are owner-occupied.

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