Sultan opens Brunei's first solar power plant
By Liza Mohamad

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam consented to officiate Brunei's first solar power plant, Tenaga Suri Brunei Photovoltaic Power Generation Demonstration Project, yesterday in a bid to promote the development of renewable energy and save the nation's resources.

The ruler was greeted upon arrival by the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office Pehin Dato Singamanteri Col (Rtd) Dato Seri Paduka Awg Hj Mohammad Yasmin bin Hj Umar and Chief Executive Officer of Mitsubishi Corporation Ken Kobayashi.

After a welcoming speech by the CEO of Mitsubishi Corporation, His Majesty officially launched the solar power plant. The ruler placed a replica of a big light bulb on a replica of Tenaga Suria solar panels, which illuminated Brunei Darussalam's map on the LED screen carrying the slogan "Brunei Darussalam powered by solar/clean energy".

The event yesterday marked an important milestone in the history of power generation in Brunei as it reflects the nation's green power revolution.

Later, His Majesty consented to receive 100 solar panels by CEO of Mitsubishi Corporation, which signified Mitsubishi's contribution to the new housing project in Kampong Ayer. The presentation in the form of a replica of a solar panel was presented to the Minister of Development Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman.

His Majesty then received a 'pesambah' and was led to view facilities at the solar power plant.

Before visiting the project's control room, His Majesty signed a plaque to commemorate the event.

At the control room, His Majesty observed the operation and process in which the solar energy is incepted into the Department of Electrical Services (DES) grid.

His Majesty was brought to view an exhibition of photo collections since the project's initiation. The ruler also visited the 'time tunnel', illustrating pictures and a brief history of Brunei's electricity generation from 1921 until now.

The ruler also took a closer view of some interesting exhibits and projects by students in relation to the development of alternative or renewable energy.

Later, His Majesty walked to the solar panel area and observed the different types of solar panels.

His Majesty viewed solar panel Type One which is made from poly crystalline silicon, Type Four made from amorphous thin film silicon and lastly Type Five made from copper-indium selenide.

His Majesty also ascended the viewing tower to have an overview of the solar power plant.

From the project site, His Majesty went to the new building of Department of Electrical Services next door and officiated the building. There, the monarch signed a plaque at the entrance of the building.

Before ending his visit, His Majesty consented to receive junjung ziarah.

'Tenaga Suria Brunei' Project is the first of its kind in the country and is one of the largest photovoltaic (PV) power generation demonstration plants in Southeast Asia.

The demand for solar energy in other industrialised countries is increasing and solar energy is the most promising type of renewable energy.

In August 2008, a Memorandum of Understanding was established between His Majesty's Government and Mitsubishi to jointly undertake a large-scale photovoltaic demonstration project to be installed at the Seria Power Station in Belait.

Mitsubishi provided the capital and expertise required to design, install and operate the system as well as HR support, training and technical assistance in the areas of operation and maintenance.

In addition to being one of the largest photovoltaic facilities in Southeast Asia, the Tenaga Suria Brunei project will also be the nation's first large scale solar power plant with nominal output capacity of 1.2MW.

The project is expected to generate some 1.33MWh of electricity per year enough to power 200 houses. This would effectively save the nation approximately 340,000 litres of crude oil equivalent and bring about a reduction of 960 tonnes of CO2 emission annually.

Photovoltaic technology has the ability to generate electricity from sunlight and it is a relatively new technology, which offers many new opportunities in generating green electricity.

The project further aims to increase public awareness on clean and renewable energy and to promote the further development of solar power in the Sultanate. - Borneo Bulletin (27th May 2011)