With the commencement of University Teknologi Mara’s (UITM) second Solar Park (USP II), the university has become the only university in Malaysia to own and operate two Large Scale Solar Photovoltaic (LSSPV) plants. Located in Pasir Gudang, Johor, USP II will work alongside the 61MWp (Megawatts-Peak) UITM Solar Park I (USP I) to give the university a combined renewable energy generation capacity of 92.58 MWp.
According to a statement released by UITM, these two LSSPV plants, alongside the planned development of 66MW of on-campus rooftop solar power generating systems will allow the university to produce enough clean renewable electricity each year to equal UITM’s annual electricity consumption by the end of 2022.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the university will be fully powered by solar energy as the press release doesn’t specify that. After all, using solar energy is as much about storing it as it is about generating it.
“We are pursuing an ambitious plan to reduce our carbon footprint, and our second solar plant is a critical new component in that plan,” said Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Azraai. He added that sustainability is a major focus for the university, and that the goal there is the provide a sustainable learning environment for their campus.
That’s a great sentiment to have, as I firmly believe that change will only come with education. And while this isn’t exactly what one might have in mind, leading by example is still a step in the right direction in the face of all the climate change deniers we see these days.
The RM125 million USP II is equipped with 92,500 solar photovoltaic panels and 160 inverters built over 112 acres of land. This allows the facility to operate on a capacity of 31MWp, and is estimated to contribute towards the avoidance of 28,000 tonnes of carbon emissions while generating 40,000 MWh of clean energy each year.
Of course, this massive project isn’t only to reduce the university’s carbon footprint, but can also serve as a source of revenue generation. NST reported that with USP I, the park is estimated to be able to generate over RM650 million in revenue for UITM thanks to a 21-year power purchase agreement with Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) at a tariff RM0.4018 per kWh.