Nestled on 14 acres of land in the picturesque countryside of Malacca, Malaysia is the showcase development of an emerging green champion; Gading Kencana Sdn Bhd, a leading name in the Malaysian renewable energy industry. This proud accomplishment is all more satisfying given the numerous challenges it had to overcome on its road to completion.
Turning out 1 Megawatt per 1.5 acre - versus an average worldwide best of 1 Megawatt per 5 acres - The Kompleks Hijau Solar is, inch-for-inch, the world’s most resource efficient solar farm. Yet it may not have been, were it not for unforeseen limitations in the site’s Local Authority requirement that reduced its total acreage. With less space to use, yield had to increase significantly to compensate. And Gading Kencana rose to the occasion with cutting-edge innovation in systems and technologies that had resulted in a solution that is the world’s most efficient.
Getting its solar farm finally transmitting green power into Malaysia’s national grid may have been and ebb and flow of problem-solving and innovation. But then, that’s par for course for a company that’s made perhaps an even more remarkable achievement-growing from its humble beginnings; selling tiny solar garden lights to now providing the national grid the benefit of green energy from the world’s most resource efficient solar farm.
Orientation is the key to the layout of the solar panels in the solar farm. Computer simulations were used to determine the best orientation that resulted in “zero shadow” falling on the solar panels’ surfaces. The resultant orientation of the solar arrays (which are on placed on ‘A’ shaped structure) i.e its Azimuth are + 33 and -147 respectively.
When site clearing of the secondary jungle took place, the actual “bowl-shaped” contour of the land was revealed with the bottom of the “bowl” being 30 meters deep.
Due to the shortfall of the land area, the design team had to rethink the whole design. The Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) had approved an 8MW solar farm, so the team had to figure out how to fit 8MW of solar panels into a smaller land area.
The construction team eventually filled up the 30 meter valley with 300,000 cubic meters of earth. This raises the site altitude to 43 meters above sea level. The team landscaped the site to create six slopes in different directions. The land contouring also enables run-offs to flow into an on-site detention pond, instead of collecting and eroding the site.
To fit the smaller site, the solar panels have to be mounted closer together, with minimal shading. The design team studied 30 different orientations to obtain the right tilts for the solar panels. The team discovered that the best way is to install 2 rows of solar panels facing each other, in an A shaped roof. This A- shaped mounting enables the maximum tapping of sunlight as well as to accommodate the 29,092 units of mono-crystalline solar panels that make up the 8MW system. The team also studied wind directions and positioned the solar panels in a way that ensures good ventilation to reduce heat build-up which can lessen their efficiency.
This 2 storey office building functions as the administrative and monitoring centre for the solar farm. This building is used to manage the daily operations in addition to doubling up as an educational outreach centre. The building places emphasis on passive strategies towards reducing heat transfer through the building envelope. Strategies that have been undertaken include the introduction of external walkways and a metal deck roof over the building’s concrete roof. Other strategies include glazed windows, low Window-to Wall ratio and the use of vertical shading devices.
BUILDING ENERGY USE (AS GENERATED BY The IGB‘s Building Energy Intensity Tool)
40kWp of solar PV system was also installed on the roof of the building to generate green energy for the use of the building. The expected yield from this installed system is 51,400kWh/year. This represents 75% of the total building energy consumption expected of 89,567 kWh/year, which exceeds GBI’s requirement of 2%. *With this consideration the BEI is then 83.
1. Reception Room
2. Store Room for equipment and spare parts
3. MSB Room
4. Transformer Room
5. Switch Gear Room
6. TNB Meter Room
1. Operations and Control Room
2. Educational Gallery
3. Meeting Room
The building uses Low VOC paint and finishes. The entire Kompleks Hijau Solar is a NO SMOKING ZONE.
The glass windows has Shading Coefficient of 0.98 and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient of 0.85. The building occupants are able to have a 93% view of the external surrounding.
Zoysia turf grass are planted around the building and fencing. Parking bays are made from grass crete and planted with Zoysia turf grass. In addition Licuala palm trees are planted around the building. All drains are built sloping toward a retention pond.
The building uses bio-bricks made from 94% recycled materials and 100% regional materials. Recycle bins are placed at the building ground floor for the collection of waste paper, plastic and glass.
The building was installed with rainwater harvesting system with a 6,000 litres of storage tank. This represents a 39% potable water reduction for irrigation. All WCs are fitted with water efficient flushing system and taps.
The building has aluminium louvres installed on the first floor to give extra shading to the walkway. The control room has video screens for a dynamic display of the yield from the solar farm, BEI energy use breakdown.
Detection of any fault in the system can be easily identified on screens which are connected to the solar PV monitoring system.