REC to invest S$250 million to boost Singapore's clean energy drive

Singapore plans to increase the share of renewable energy to 8 percent by 2030.

Norwegian solar panel maker REC said it will invest S$250 million in Singapore, which has unveiled plans to increase solar panel deployment significantly in the next four years.

Around S$200 million of the investment will be deployed in projects to improve automation and technology upgrading while S$50 million will be invested in research and development.

Singapore currently generates only less than 1 percent of electricity from solar power. The Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) said in November the plan is to raise this to up to 20 percent by 2050.

"The aim is to reduce the fossil fuel dependency of the grid and replace that with the clean source, so that the carbon footprint of Singapore and the carbon footprint of an organisation, that is PUB, can be reduced," a consortium led by WEnergy Global said last year.

REC said Singapore has great potential in tapping clean energy, citing the recent installation of its 2.2MW TwinPeak in the country.

"With such a strong commitment to cleantech innovation, Singapore is the ideal location for REC to channel new innovations and push the boundaries for solar solutions," Steve O'Neil, CEO of REC, said.

Founded and headquartered in Norway, REC is the largest European brand of solar panels. As of end 2015, REC produced around 20 million solar panels amounting to more than 5 GW of clean energy, which is enough to power almost 8 million people at home.

Singapore plans to increase the share of renewable energy to 8 percent by 2030.

The country has no indigenous hydrocarbon reserves and must import all its crude oil and natural gas, according to the US Energy Informational Agency. The total primary energy consumption included 87 percent from crude oil and petroleum products, 13 percent from natural gas, and less than 1 percent from other fuel sources, it said.

Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), S Iswaran, said REC's investment reflects the country's attractiveness as a manufacturing sector for clean energy systems.

"Singapore's manufacturing sector is evolving rapidly to take on the new wave of innovations and capabilities around robotics, 3D printing and the industrial internet of things," he said, according to TODAY.