Malaysia’s sunny outlook for green transition

This 13MW floating solar farm is one of many planned for Malaysia.

Floating solar farms are part of massive PV investment

Malaysia’s National Energy Transition Roadmap will be driven principally by massive investment in solar power, with the potential for solar PV output to reach 153GW by 2050 – not only powering the country, but exporting surplus green energy to neighbours including Singapore.

More conservative projections suggest installed capacity might reach only 58.9GW by mid-century. But that is still an impressive increase on the current level of 1.7GW solar, in a total national installed energy capacity of 33GW.

Floating solar farms are among many initiatives being considered, including a collaboration between Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and the State Government of Perak for an installation near the Sungai Perak Hydroelectric Dam.

Investment analysts are in no doubt that solar panels are “poised to be the sunrise industry of 2024”. A report by Aminvest Research states that, while the cost of solar panels has plummeted from 31 US cents per kWh in 2022, to 18 US cents now, demand is rocketing for solar farms, rooftop arrays and use by industries including data centres.

Aminvest’s analysis chimes with a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Malaysian Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change, which identifies the need for US$10.8 billion of investment in solar PV, plus US$8 billion in grid enhancements, by 2030.

These are big numbers for a country with a population of 34 million – half that of the UK. But the IRENA/Ministry report is clear about its objective: saving US$9-13 billion per year by 2050, in avoided energy, climate and health costs.