Agrovoltaic project to drive green initiative

KUCHING: An ambitious billion-ringgit agrovoltaic farm that will integrate a large solar plant with sustainable animal feed economics (Safe) involving Malaysian-China companies has been planned for Sarawak.

The project in the northern region of Baram will be undertaken jointly by Planet QEOS Sdn Bhd and China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC) Investment and funding in the project could go up to RM10bil.

The Safe agrovoltaic complex project will be powered by technologically advanced 1,000 megawatt hour (MWh) solar plant, and will carry out mass production of carbon neutral animal feed and broiler chickens.

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg was briefed on the project recently.

Planet QEOS and CMEC said in a joint statement: “The patent-applied technology powering the Safe agrovoltaic farm will enable the energy farm to generate annually 1,430 GWh of energy, 170,000 tonnes of carbon neutral feed and 25 million carbon neutral broiler chickens at fixed, pre-determined and sustainable prices for 30 years.

“This noval concept will ensure that Sarawak markets will have access to both sustainable energy and poultry prices for decades to come.”

Planet QEOS is a subsidiary of QEOS LED Sdn Bhd, whose goal is to disrupt traditional supply chain and defy traditional growing seasons by enabling local farming at commercial scale all-year around.

Furthermore, the Safe agrovoltaic farm will enable 24-hour, grid scale, day-and-night energy supply operations, allowing solar-powered energy to play a competitive role as a major and stable energy source.

It will, according to the statement, have the biggest energy storage complex in the world at up to 2,000MWh capacity.

“The implementation of this project will allow green solar energy to directly substitute energy generated by natural gas power plants, resulting in a reduction of greenhouse gases by 640,000 MTCO2eq per year or equivalent to removing the emission from 140,000 road vehicles.

“Baram alone has more than 200,000MW capacity of solar energy potentials spread over more than 10,000 sq km of agriculture land,” it added.

This is according to 20 years of continuous data compiled by Solargis, a database funded and provided by the World Bank Group,

Baram’s solar irradiance is among the best in Sarawak and the region – receiving 4.8 to 5.2KWh/m2 of global horizontal irradiance (GHI) per day on average.

The Safe agrovoltaic will incorporate a major 100 ha solar site integrated with planting of high-yield rice,a staple food for the population in the region, with new solar technology designs. The Safe agrovoltaic complex is expected to create some 1,200 jobs, including 250 highly-skilled engineering jobs in renewable energy, production, agriculture and veterinary while supporting thousands of local farms and agro-entrepreneur businesses.

The statement said the Safe agrovoltaic technology and resulting investment commitment by CMEC are the brainchild and results from the tireless efforts of three local tech entrepreneurs, including two Sarawakians, namely Dino Bidari, Dr Gabriel Walter and Lam Poh Liam.

The project is in line with Sarawak’s green initiative and Abang Johari’s vision of making Sarawak a regional hub for renewable energy and a major food producer and exporter by 2030.

“The premier, whose persistent efforts on green energy are now recognised globally, has systematically sounded the clarion call to transform the economy of Sarawak into a green one with emphasis on green energy generation, modern sustainable agriculture and methodising the distribution of wealth to the population,” added Planet QEOS and CMEC.

Abang Johari had said that Sarawak aims to play a leading role in green energy by tapping and developing renewable resources, such as solar and bioenergy, in addition to its huge hydro power resources.

He said the state’s many rivers and abundant sunshine could be harnessed to generate solar power.

On the other hand, the Sarawak government is working on large-scale production of animal feed from palm oil waste to address the costly imported animal feeds and reduce the imports.

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