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Overdrive to Monitor Sembcorp Floating Solar Panels

Photo From: The Straight Times/Lim Yaohui

Singapore –  Overdrive powers up as it works with Sembcorp, one of Singapore’s energy and urban developing companies, to monitor one of the largest floating solar farms in the world.

Intending to reduce carbon emissions and provide more sustainable energy, Sembcorp launched the Sembcorp Tengeh Floating Solar Farm  at Tengeh Resevoir last July 14, 2021. The 60 megawatt-peak (MWp) solar photovoltaic (PV) farm consists of 122,000 solar panels sprawling across 45 hectares (about the size of 45 football fields), making it one of the world’s largest inland floating solar PV systems.

Unlike other land-based solar installations, deploying solar panels in open waters can be quite a challenge due to the unpredictable nature of onshore. The solar farm comprises 10 solar PVs called “islands” which are equipped with thousands of electric panels and cables. These islands must be anchored firmly as to not drift too far apart and potentially damage the electrical cables in between the solar PVs.


Putting GPS tracking to Work

As a start, Overdrive installed 11 waterproof self-powered GPS trackers that were designed to withstand rugged environments. The trackers were strategically deployed across certain points on their solar PV testing platforms, monitoring the position of the panels and providing real-time updates on any slight movements.

1. Safeguarding the solar panels

Overdrive’s GPS tracking system secures the position of each island by giving real-time updates whenever each solar PV floats away. Each anchor point was fitted with a tracker which allowed technicians to gain full visibility over the panels. Any movement made by the panels is automatically detected and technicians will be notified instantly through Overdrive’s platform.

2. Preventive Measures

Electrical cables are harnessed in between panels and can potentially break if the panel drifts too far apart. Overdrive provides real-time alerts and notifications that allowed technicians to have faster response time, expedite possible onsite repairs, or even prevent any costly unplanned downtime. The system also enabled geofence capabilities that allowed them to set up virtual boundaries and prevent panels from drifting away from the parameter.

Sembcorp Tengeh Floating Solar Farm project is in motion and Overdrive is expected to deploy more trackers by the end of 2021.

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