The Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) announced three flagship research and development projects aimed at diversifying the industrial uses of solar power, during its 10th anniversary celebration on Thursday (5-April):
- SERIS will collaborate with Nanyang Technological University and the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise to develop a 30 per cent efficient thin film-on-silicon tandem solar cell. Such a solar cell will improve the current practical efficiency of silicon solar cells, which is limited to around 28 per cent under natural sunlight.
- The second project aims to develop photovoltaic modules (or solar panels) that can be integrated on building surfaces apart from roofs, such as the facade. SERIS will be working on making the photovoltaic modules lightweight, highly efficient and low cost.
- SERIS will also look to expand the institute's current achievements in "floating solar" and develop a multi-purpose floating system of photovoltaic modules that will be suitable for off-shore use.
In a statement congratulating SERIS on its 10th anniversary, Deputy Prime Minister Mr Teo Chee Hean noted that solar energy is presently the best alternative energy option for Singapore, in terms of economic and technical viability. For instance, the costs of solar energy have been reduced by about 85 per cent in the last decade, and are now competitive with fossil fuel-based power in many countries, including Singapore. By 2020, Singapore aims to put in place enough solar PV systems to supply 350MWp of electricity - about 5 per cent of projected peak electricity demand here.
Deputy Prime Minister Mr Teo Chee Hean said there is a global shift towards renewable energy and that Singapore is in a good position to trial cleantech solutions, which can be scaled for other cities in the Asia-Pacific. He added that research initiatives and supporting services have helped to anchor a new ecosystem of more than 100 clean energy companies here, an effort that SERIS has played a large role in.
SERIS, housed in the National University of Singapore, was founded in 2008 as a government initiative to stimulate the establishment of clean technology as a future pillar of the economy. Among SERIS’ breakthroughs is a real-time monitoring system with high reliability and availability. The monitoring system provides the backbone for the well known "Live irradiance map of Singapore", which provides data that can be used to develop ways to overcome the intermittency of solar energy, due to factors like cloud cover. The institute is also a forerunner in developing new solar panels, including the TwinPeak panels, which have at least 7 per cent more power than standard panels.