Solar energy for greener Penang

The solar panels now generate electricity to power the MOCC, reducing its annual carbon emission by 40%.

THE site offices of the Penang South Island (PSI) reclamation project will strive to use renewable resources to meet daily operational needs, starting with the Marine Operation Control Centre (MOCC) in Batu Maung.

SRS Consortium deputy project director Azmi Mohamad said the MOCC, which monitored vessel movements around the PSI site during reclamation, was powered by solar energy.

It was also the first PSI project office to be fitted with solar panels.

“As the project progresses, we will also use solar power at Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan (PPSN) Permatang Damar Laut and at our future project office in Batu Maung where the management and administrative staff will be based.

“This is in line with our commitment to build a low-carbon development and become more climate- resilient. We must walk the talk even in our non-construction activities,” he said.

PSI is master-planned based on the Green Plan and Low-Carbon Cities Framework that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Among the strategies to accomplish this are introducing electric public transportation, powering the future Green Tech Park with solar power, and building super- low energy buildings.

Azmi added that MOCC’s solar panels were installed on April 15, a week before Earth Day on April 22, and they would generate 11.83 kWp (kilowatts peak) to power the centre’s operations.

“Based on an estimated power demand of 10kW for 12 hours per day, the solar panels will help the MOCC reduce 12 tonnes or 40% of carbon emissions a year.

“This is in line with the National Physical Planning Council’s recommendation for low-carbon development to address climate change.

“The solar hybrid system features a photovoltaic (PV) module as the solar electrical energy generation source; a battery energy storage system and a hybrid inverter.

“It also enables the use of regular electricity supplied by Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) when the solar panels do not generate enough power.

“When the system generates too much power, the battery can store the excess power for use at night or whenever there is little sunlight. The excess power will also be fed into the grid and entitles us to TNB rebates,” he said.

Azmi also said the eventual relocation of MOCC to Island A would be carried out along with the solar panels to ensure that the building would have electricity even without access to TNB cables.

“The solar power system materials can last up to 30 years.

“We believe that investing in solar power is worth the time and effort for the good of the planet.

“We can significantly reduce greenhouse gases and carbon emissions from energy that comes from burning fossil fuels,” he said.

The project is also looking to introduce solar-powered street lights for the MOCC in the future.

The PPSN offices in Permatang Damar Laut, Sungai Batu and Gertak Sanggul are already using such street lights.

Apart from solar power, the MOCC and PPSN Permatang Damar Laut are also turning to rainwater harvesting for cleaning and landscaping.

Azmi said both the solar power and rainwater harvesting systems would be adopted at other project sites alongside energy-saving lighting, inverter air-conditioning and ventilation systems; and water- saving faucets and flush systems.

“We want to help raise awareness on ESG (environment, social and governance) practices that contribute to climate resilience.”

Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus said the PSI project through activities by the three PPSN was in a good position to promote ESG principles.

“Apart from serving as a one-stop information centre on PSI, PPSN organises welfare awareness programmes for the local community, especially fishermen and their families in Permatang Damar Laut, Sungai Batu and Gertak Sanggul.

“We want to set a good example for the community.

“PPSN puts contributions to fishermen in reusable tote bags while recycling bins are a fixture at the PPSN offices to encourage waste segregation.

“If we adopt green practices, we can make a positive difference in the long run,” said Farizan.

PPSN was established by the Penang government to help safeguard the interests of the fishing community.

It acts as a mediator between the state and the locals, especially the fishing community in the southern parts of Penang island.

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