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HK Electric Commissions Hong Kong's Largest Solar Power System

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HK Electric Commissions Hong Kong's Largest Solar Power System

29 Jul 2010

The largest solar power system in Hong Kong was today commissioned by HK Electric on Lamma Island. The system is expected to generate 620,000 units of electricity annually.

The project marks another milestone for HK Electric in harnessing renewable energy (RE) for power generation in Hong Kong. The Company has since 2006 brought wind energy to the city by building and operating the only commercial scale wind power station - at Tai Ling on Lamma.

The newly commissioned solar power system, which has a capacity of 550 kilowatts, comprises 5,500 thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules each with peak output of 100 watt. The PV panels are erected on rooftops of the Main Station Building inside Lamma Power Station, covering a total area of 8,470 square metres. To maximize power output, all panels face south and are inclined at 22 degrees to the ground.

Apart from being the largest in Hong Kong, the system is also the first large scale project applying amorphous silicon thin-film technology. Compared with conventional crystalline silicon modules, amorphous silicon modules consume less silicon in the production process and are more environmentally friendly.

Another advantage of amorphous silicon module is that it performs better under high temperatures and low irradiance, hence, more suitable for applications in tropical environment.

The system, with investments totalling $23 million, will help reduce 520 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission, 2.9 tonnes of sulphur dioxide and 1.4 tonnes of nitrogen oxides every year, further improving Hong Kong's air quality. The Company will review system effectiveness before considering extending it to other parts of the station.

Today's ceremony was officiated by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr. Edward Yau, together with Chief Executive Officer of Du Pont Apollo Limited, Dr. David Chu, and the Managing Director of HK Electric, Mr. Tso Kai-sum.

Mr. Yau said, "The development of RE is of paramount importance as resources such as solar and wind energy are derived from natural processes that are inexhaustible and can be replenished constantly. RE is also emission-free, bringing a cleaner environment and a better living."

Mr. Tso said that around 80,000 units of electricity have been produced since testing began in July and described the result as satisfactory. He thanked the Environment Bureau and Du Pont for their support and assistance enabling the system to be completed in about a year's time, from feasibility study through to approval and commissioning.

"The commissioning of the system represents another important step for HK Electric in the wider application of RE in Hong Kong. We introduced wind energy to Hong Kong residents four years ago and now we will harness solar energy on a large scale.

"We hope to contribute positively to efforts in combating climate change and improving local air quality through our active and pragmatic pursuit of RE projects," Mr. Tso added.

Retrofitting a major solar installation in an existing power plant posed three major challenges to HK Electric engineers – one was locating large flat areas without any shade to set up all the 5,500 PV modules.

After deciding to erect the modules on rooftops, engineers had another hurdle to jump – mounting the panels firmly at the selected sites without damaging water-proofing layers on rooftops. Instead of anchoring panels with bolts, engineers built concrete blocks strong enough to hold down the panels even in strong winds.

Delivering heavy construction materials and equipment to top floors was another major challenge. Careful and detailed planning ensured site and staff safety, while minimising interruptions to plant operations.

While embarking on the solar project, Mr. Tso said the Company also achieved good progress in its offshore wind farm project.

"Environmental permit for the project has been granted and we will soon start wind monitoring work at the site, which is expected to last 12 months," he said.

All PV modules were supplied by Du Pont Apollo which shares HK Electric's commitment to sustainable development and protecting the environment through the use of RE. The company believes this effort will accelerate the applications of PV in Hong Kong for the long term benefits of the city and its residents.

Managing Director of HK Electric, Mr. Tso Kai-sum (left), Secretary for the Environment, Mr. Edward Yau and Chief Executive Officer of Du Pont Apollo Limited, Dr. David Chu (right) officiate at the ceremony.

Managing Director of HK Electric, Mr. Tso Kai-sum (left), Secretary for the Environment, Mr. Edward Yau and Chief Executive Officer of Du Pont Apollo Limited, Dr. David Chu (right) officiate at the ceremony.

Managing Director of HK Electric, Mr. Tso Kai-sum (left), Secretary for the Environment, Mr. Edward Yau and Chief Executive Officer of Du Pont Apollo Limited, Dr. David Chu (right) officiate at the ceremony.

Managing Director of HK Electric, Mr. Tso Kai-sum (left), Secretary for the Environment, Mr. Edward Yau and Chief Executive Officer of Du Pont Apollo Limited, Dr. David Chu (right) officiate at the ceremony.

Mr. Tso said HK Electric has built Hong Kong’s largest solar power system at Lamma Power Station, following the introduction of the wind energy in the city four years ago.

Mr. Tso said HK Electric has built Hong Kong's largest solar power system at Lamma Power Station, following the introduction of the wind energy in the city four years ago.

Mr. Yau (centre) pictures at the rooftop where 2,130 PV panels are erected.

Mr. Yau (centre) pictures at the rooftop where 2,130 PV panels are erected.

Mr. Yau and Mr. Tso are briefed by General Manager (Projects), Mr. Frank Lau on the characteristics of amorphous silicon modules.

Mr. Yau and Mr. Tso are briefed by General Manager (Projects), Mr. Frank Lau on the characteristics of amorphous silicon modules.

5,500 PV panels are erected on rooftops of the Main Station Building inside Lamma Power Station, covering a total area of 8,470 square metres.

5,500 PV panels are erected on rooftops of the Main Station Building inside Lamma Power Station, covering a total area of 8,470 square metres.

All panels face south and are inclined at 22 degrees to the ground to maximize power output.

All panels face south and are inclined at 22 degrees to the ground to maximize power output.

The seamless co-operation among project staff makes the project successful.

The seamless co-operation among project staff makes the project successful.