BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Temburong District Office has installed 255 solar panels on its rooftop, becoming Brunei’s first solar-powered government building.

The solar power system can generate 100 kWp of clean energy and is expected to save up to $11,000 of electricity expenses each year, the Ministry of Energy said in a statement on Saturday.

With a cost of $97,474, the project is part of the government’s move to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Covering an area twice the size of a standard tennis court, the solar panels at Temburong District Office can reduce about 66 tonnes of annual carbon dioxide emissions, or equivalent to the carbon absorption of 1,330 trees.

Temburong District Office is the second building in the district to be installed with solar panels after a similar project at Bangar’s Bumiputera Commercial Building in 2020.

Solar energy is gaining momentum in Brunei as the government has targeted at least 30 percent or 300 MW of installed power capacity from renewable energy by 2035.

Currently, 4.9 MW of Brunei’s total installed power capacity is from clean energy.

The energy ministry has identified a number of solar power projects in the short to medium term, including building three new solar farms within the next five years and installing floating solar panels on structures above water surfaces.

Private sector participation in the renewable energy sector has also increased, with Brunei Shell Petroleum building a 3.3 MW solar plant to power its Seria headquarters and Berakas Power Company installing solar panels on its rooftop.

Speaking at the launch of the solar power system at Temburong District Office, Department of Electrical Services Acting Director Abdul Aziz Abdullah said the project is part of efforts to develop Temburong as the ‘Green Jewel of Brunei Darussalam’.

He said 75 solar street lights were also installed along Jalan Labu at Kampung Perdayan in April.

Longhouses in Tutong and interior areas of Belait have also been installed with solar panels since 2018.

The Department of Electrical Services also marked 100 years of electricity supply during the launch ceremony.

The acting director said his department will improve power generation efficiency using cogeneration technology, or combined heat and power, solar energy and combined cycle power plant.

A 6 KV network is being built from the Mentiri main electric system to the new Perdayan Station in Temburong to supply more reliable electricity to the district, he said.

Diesel generators at Belingus Power Station will no longer be used once the project has been completed in 2023.