Green energy to power local varsities

Green energy: Dr Ting (left) and Tham showing off the signed document which will see greater collaboration between UTAR and Ditrolic Solar.

UNIVERSITI Teknologi Mara (UiTM) is now the country’s first and only varsity to own and operate large scale solar photovoltaic (LSSPV) plants.

With the commencement of commercial operations of its second LSSPV plant in Pasir Gudang, Johor, last month, UiTM boasts of a combined renewable energy generation capacity of 75MWac (92.58 MWp).

The varsity’s first 61MWp LSSPV plant in Gambang, Pahang, began its commercial operations in April 2019.

The new plant, known as UiTM Solar Park II (USP II), is built on over 45 hectares of land and is estimated to contribute towards the avoidance of 28,000 tonnes of carbon emission, generating 40,000 MWh of clean energy annually.

With increased capacity, the varsity now stands proudly alongside globally renowned public and private universities such as University of California, Stanford University and University of Queensland, that own and operate large scale solar power plants.

And, UiTM already has its sights set on on a 66MW on-campus rooftop solar power generating system which will be in full commercial operations by the end of 2022.

Together, with the LSSPV plants, UiTM will produce enough clean renewable electricity each year to equal its annual electricity consumption.

UiTM vice-chancellor Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Azraai Kassim said the decision to commercially own multiple LSSPV plants is part of the university’s drive to become carbon neutral while generating sustainable income for the university.

The installations will produce enough clean renewable electricity each year to equal the university’s annual electricity consumption.

He said sustainability is a major focus for UiTM.

“As a university, we are pursuing an ambitious plan to reduce our carbon footprint and our second solar plant is a critical new component of that plan.

“Moving forward in our transition to clean power builds on the collaborative work between our faculties, students and industries. It marks a major advancement in our efforts to provide a sustainable learning environment for our campus, ” he said in a press release on Jan 8.

UiTM Holdings Group chief executive officer Norzaimah Maarof said the commissioning of the plant is a reflection of the Group’s commitment and dedication in contributing to the nation’s renewable energy aspiration

Separately, some 9,000 pieces of solar modules will be installed at the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) Kampar campus in Perak under a 20-year rooftop solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Ditrolic Solar.

Under Ditrolic Solar’s SunLease programme, UTAR will enjoy clean energy to be generated without any capital outlay and purchase the energy at a discounted rate from regular TNB tariff.

The PPA with the clean energy solutions company will see a 4.1 MWp on-site rooftop solar system being installed to generate enough power for 75% of UTAR’s power demand.

Over its lifetime, the system will be able to generate about 108,142MWh of clean energy, enabling UTAR to avoid 75,699 tonnes of CO 2 emissions. This initiative mooted by UTAR is part of its commitment to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations (UN).

Signing the agreement were UTAR Council chairman Tan Sri Datuk Seri Dr Ting Chew Peh and Ditrolic Energy Solution Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Tham Chee Aun.

The ceremony was witnessed by Datuk Lee Leck Cheng, of the Board of Trustees, and Ditrolic Energy Solution Sdn Bhd Business Development manager Raziah Hamdan.

UTAR president Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat said solar power is a great sustainable green energy choice. It reduces greenhouse gases, improves air quality and conserves our precious resources.

“We are excited and thankful to have the opportunity to collaborate with Ditrolic which will provide no less than 4045.36kWp solar power to us (to reduce our consumption of electric energy).

“These panels will be placed at seven buildings and an open space at our Kampar campus. This will promote our efforts towards a more sustainable future.”

Ditrolic Solar and UTAR will also collaborate on creating solar research systems at the campus to enable researchers and students to acquire and analyse real life data for the advancement of solar system designs in the tropical regions.

Tham said Ditrolic Solar is honoured to be a clean energy partner for an important higher educational institution such as UTAR.

“The signing of this agreement marks the beginning of a long term cooperation between UTAR and Ditrolic Solar.

“We will extend this cooperation beyond supplying clean energy to UTAR to industry cooperation, research and development as well as student internship placement and future employment.

“Hopefully, we can do our part to contribute towards capacity building in the clean energy sector for Malaysia, ” he said in a press release on Jan 1.

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