The 145 MW Cirata floating solar farm, a collaboration between Indonesia’s state-owned utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) and Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company Masdar, has been inaugurated with the government confirming plans to add at least another 500 MW of generation capacity.
The $157 million (USD 100 million) Cirata floating solar farm comprises approximately 340,000 solar panels installed across a 250-hectare plot of the Cirata Reservoir in West Java, about 130 kilometres southeast of Indonesia capital Jakarta.
It is expected to generate 245 GWh of clean energy per year to be channelled into PLN’s Java-Bali distribution line, providing enough electricity to meet the needs of 50,000 households while offsetting 214,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
“Today is a historic day, because our ambitious dream to build a large-scale renewable energy generator is finally achieved,” Indonesia President Joko Widodo said at the launch of the project.
“Indonesia has successfully built the largest floating solar power plant in southeast Asia and the third largest in the world.”
“We hope there will be more renewable energy built in our country such as solar, hydropower, geothermal and wind.”
PLN Chief Executive Officer Darmawan Prasodjo said the group has already signed a memorandum of understanding with Masdar to develop the next stage of the project.
Prasodjo said the parties have agreed to add up to 500 MW of additional capacity but there is potential for the project to be scaled up to about 1,000 MW, noting that the 13 arrays installed so far occupy only 4% of the reservoir’s surface while newly introduced regulations permit up to 20% of the reservoir’s area to be utilised by the solar plant.
“This is just the beginning,” Prasodjo said. “The president instructed us to maintain the momentum so that renewable energy development could be escalated.”
Indonesian Energy Minister Arifin Tasrif said floating solar is a key part of the nation’s decarbonisation and net-zero ambitions.
Indonesia has set a target to expand renewable energy to 23% of its energy mix by 2025 and has committed to a 29% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
The government has admitted the target of 23% by 2025 will probably be missed with renewable energy accounting for just 12.3% of Indonesia’s energy mix in 2022.
“With the operation of the Cirata floating PV, we hope it will increase investor confidence and encourage technological innovation as a solution to limited land in developing solar energy, where Indonesia has enormous floating PV potential,” Tasrif said.
The Cirata floating solar farm is just one of a number of floating PV projects being pursued in Indonesia. Solar developer Sunseap Group has proposed a 2.2 GW plant on a reservoir on Batam Island near Singapore, while Singapore-based Reposttren Holdings is planning a 2 GW facility in West Java.
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