DUNGUN : The Terengganu branch Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) continues to make history by becoming the first institution of higher learning (IPT) in the state to own a photovoltaic solar power station.
Its Solar Energy Project head Dr Ermeey Abd Kadir said the solar power station, which involved installation of 3,885 solar panels, was now operating at a capacity of 1.6 megawatts.
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the monthly electricity bill at the campus was about RM350,000. However, with the use of solar, we can save up to 20 percent per month.
“Not only that, we also generate income from electricity sales to Tenaga Nasional Berhad, involving a total of RM700,000 so far,” he told reporters at a briefing session on the solar project which was also attended by UiTM Terengganu branch Rector Prof Dr Mazidah Puteh here yesterday.
The solar project, which cost RM6 million, was developed and operated by UiTM Holdings Sdn Bhd (UHSB). It involved the installation of 3,885 solar panels on the roof of car parks, the main hall and several other buildings in the campus.
Installation of the solar panels started in July last year and took four months to complete.
Following the success, UiTM welcomes parties keen to share its expertise in using solar as a source of electricity, especially government departments and private companies.
Ermeey said although installation of the solar panels may be costly, reaching millions of ringgit for large premises or up to RM35,000 for installation at home, but the benefits were worth the amount spent.
“Among the advantages of solar is that it is an unlimited source of renewable energy and the technology in this industry is growing rapidly every year. It has considerable potential in generating revenue.
“The maintenance cost is also very low because only the inverter needs to be replaced periodically between five to 10 years to ensure it remains functioning at its best to convert solar energy to electricity,” he said.
The success of the solar project has also prompted the Terengganu branch UiTM to introduce a new course, Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and Intelligent Systems, which is expected to start by March 2023 at the latest.
According to Ermeey, approval for the course has been obtained from the Higher Education Ministry has in principle agreed to the course.
We need to ensure that the new course is not the same as that introduced by other IPTs and most importantly there is job for the graduates ,” he said, adding that the first intake would involve 30 students.
The use of solar energy at the Terengganu branch UiTM, as well as several other campuses, is a continuation of UiTM’s drive to become carbon neutral and generate sustainable income for the university.
To date, UiTM is the only university in Malaysia to own and operate two large-scale photovoltaic solar power plants (LSSPV) with a combined renewable energy (RE) capacity of 75MWac.
UiTM’s first LSSPV is in Gambang, Pahang, which started commercial operations in April 2019, while its second plant, which is in Pasir Gudang, Johor, was operational in December 2020.