Brunei to try solar power
By Amin Hosni

Brunei Darussalam may have enough LNG reserves to cater to the country's energy needs for years to come but it is also leaving no stones unturned in its pursuit of renewable energy.

With the help of a Japanese firm, Brunei is embarking on a large-scale Photovoltaic (PV) demonstration project, considered the largest in Asean.

Solar power will soon be an additional source of energy to power the nation's electricity grid with the utilisation of Photovoltaic (PV) cells to be installed at one of the power stations in the country.

Yesterday, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Energy Division at the Prime Minister's Office and Mitsubishi Corporation.

By signing the MoU, the government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Mitsubishi Corporation have agreed to work together to carry out the large-scale Photovoltaic (PV) demonstration project in Brunei.

The project called 'Tenaga Suria Brunei (TSB)' under the MoU will see the PV system with a capacity of 1.2 MW to be installed at Seria Power Station in the Belait District and connected to the existing power grid.

This project is expected to be commissioned in 2010.

The increasing demand for energy worldwide has put great pressure on the price of oil. Solar power is one of the alternatives that is not only renewable but also very clean.

With the utilisation of this system, the Energy Division at the Prime Minister's Office, Department of Electrical Services and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) will jointly carry out verification tests of several different types of PV module over a period of three years to evaluate the suitability of each module for use in Brunei's tropical climatic condition.

The TSB project in one of Mitsubishi Corporation's corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities with the intention to help support the sustainable development of renewable energy in Brunei Darussalam.

Mitsubishi Corporation will provide capital, knowledge and expertise for the successful implementation of the TSB project. The project will not only strengthen the relationship between Brunei Darussalam and Mitsubishi Corporation but is also seen as a major step to promote the development of renewable energy in Brunei.

Overseas field visits and site training will also be provided by MC to develop the local expertise and capacity building in the field of PV system.

Awang Haji Ismail bin Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Setia Dato Paduka Haji Ibrahim, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Energy) at the Prime Minister's Office hoped that the Tenaga Suria Brunei would also help facilitate the development of photovoltaic industry in Brunei Darussalam and create job opportunities and help diversify Brunei's economic base. - Borneo Bulletin (14th August 2008)