UiTM becomes first local university to operate two LSSPV plants

BY AFIQ AZIZ / Pic by TMR FILEPIX

UNIVERSITI Teknologi Mara (UiTM) announced that its second large scale solar photovoltaic (LSSPV) plant had commenced commercial operations, following the commercialisation of its LSSPV plant in Gambang, Pahang, in April 2019.

This makes it the first local education institution in the country to own and operate two LSSPV plants, UiTM said in a statement today.

The new LSSPV plant in Pasir Gudang, Johor, will augment the 61 megawatts peak (MWp) LSSPV plant in Gambang, the statement read.

Both of its Pasir Gudang and Gambang plants can generate a total of 75MWac (92.58 MWp) of clean and renewable energy (RE).

The Pasir Gudang plant, known as UiTM Solar Park II (USP II), which was undertaken by UiTM Holdings Sdn Bhd (UHSB) through its wholly-owned subsidiary UiTM Solar Power Dua Sdn Bhd (USPDSB), commenced commercial operation on Dec 2, 2020.

The USP II plant operates on a capacity of 31 MWp and is equipped with 92,500 solar photovoltaic panels and 160 inverters.

UiTM said the facility, built on 112 acres (45.3ha) of land, is expected to reduce carbon emission by 28,000 tonnes while generating 40,000 MWh of clean energy annually. The development of the second LSSPV plant costs about RM125 million.

The university also has plans to develop a 66MW on-campus rooftop solar power generating systems, which will be in full commercial operations by the end of 2022.

UiTM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Azraai Kassim said the decision to own multiple LSSPV plants commercially is part of the university’s drive to become carbon neutral and generate sustainable income for the university.

“Together, these installations will produce enough clean, renewable electricity each year to equal the university’s annual electricity consumption,” he said.

“As a university, we are pursuing an ambitious plan to reduce our carbon footprint, and our second solar plant is a critical new component of that plan” he added.

With this increased capacity from the two LSSPV plants, Mohd Azraai said UiTM now sits among the University of California, Stanford University and the University of Queensland, that own and operate LSS power plants.

“Sustainability is a major focus for UiTM. Moving forward in our transition to clean power builds on the collaborative work between our faculties, students and industries, and it marks a major advance in our efforts to provide a sustainable learning environment for our campus,” he said.

UHSB’s group CEO Norzaimah Maarof said he attributed the plant’s successful commission to hard work, expertise, and USPDSB’s team experience amid challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is also a reflection of the group’s commitment and dedication in contributing to the nation’s RE aspiration,” he said. The USP II construction took 11 months, including delays and suspension caused by the Movement Control Order.

The university undertook the project in collaboration with engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contractor, SPIC Energy Malaysia Bhd.

Both the USP I and USP II projects were awarded by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources through the Energy Commission’s LSS competitive bidding exercises.

The two plants were developed by UHSB’s wholly-owned subsidiaries, UiTM Solar Power Sdn Bhd and USPDSB, respectively. The subsidiaries are part of UHSB’s energy division, mainly involved in RE, energy efficiency and green technology businesses.