KOTA KINABALU: Data from the Malaysia Renewable Energy Roadmap (MRER) showed that Sabah has the best potential for solar energy in Malaysia.
With this in mind, the Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor noted that solar power is expected to supply 11 per cent of the state’s total electricity generation by 2024.
He said the government is aware of the potential and benefits of solar energy in the state, and is responsible in ensuring the electricity supply in Sabah is guaranteed, thus ensuring optimum cost so as not to burden the people in the state.
Currently, Sabah’s solar energy capacity stands at 84 megawatts (mW), which comes from a large-scale solar project in Kudat (50 mW capacity), and a solar photovoltaic project under the feed-in tariff scheme (34 mW capacity).
The state is expecting another four more large-scale solar projects, which is expected to be completed by next year, which would bring another 62 mW to the state’s energy capacity, comprising 6mW in Beaufort, Kunak (5 mW), 20mw for two projects in Sandakan, 16 mW for another three in Tawau, and 15 mW for two projects in Labuan.
According to the MRER data, which was drafted by the Sustainable Energy Development Authority in 2022, about 99,400 MW can be tapped from solar panels installed on 1,887 sq km of undeveloped land area of Sabah land, which covers around 2.6 per cent.
Practically, if for example, just 1 per cent of 1,887 sq km is developed into solar farms, about 1,000 MW can be generated.
However, at the moment, the state government believe that to ensure stability of Sabah’s power grid, solar energy’s connection to the grid is limited to only 22 per cent or about 220 mW.
The only weakness is that solar energy is considered to be slightly inconsistent and it is very much dependent on sunlight.
“The target for additional solar energy capacity planned by the Sabah government for the future is only limited to 100 mW until 2027,” Hajiji disclosed, adding that the Energy Commission of Sabah (ECoS) is set to take control of the electricity supply including renewable energy in the state soon.
ECoS is also tasked to evaluate the implementation of off-grid solar energy such as self-generation and consumption, as well as dedicated supply such as to industrial parks.
The premier leader of Sabah noted that the government is aware of the potential and benefits of solar energy in the state, and is responsible in ensuring the electricity supply in Sabah is guaranteed, thus ensuring optimum cost so as not to burden the people in the state.