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Samaiden: Solar energy’s future shining bright

Samaiden: Solar energy’s future shining bright

17 Sep 2020

Like many other companies, Samaiden views its upcoming listing on Bursa Malaysia’s ACE Market as a means to an end, to raise capital for its projects, to expand and upgrade its system as well as to entice talent into their fold.

In addition, its group managing director Chow Pui Hee (pix) hopes the exercise will also raise its public profile along with the renewable energy sector as a whole.

As it stands now, she shared that people tend to mispronounce the name of the company, despite its tenure in the solar energy field, in Malaysia.

“The name Samaiden, is actually a portmanteau of my two sons Sam and Aiden,” she told SunBiz.

For Chow, she first cut her teeth in environmental and sustainability works after graduating as a chemical engineer with her first job in the wastewater treatment industry, tasked with the design and building of treatment plants.

“This is where I first got involved with climate change, clean development mechanism (CDM) and generation relating to reduction of carbon footprint,“ she said.

After a stint in water management, the managing director ventured into solid waste management with a company that does landfill closure works, where she served as a consultant for the closure of landfill as well as restoration projects.

There, she noticed the potential of solar energy, as the landfill site ended up as an empty lot because it could not be developed.

“At that juncture, we proposed to convert the brownfield site to a brightfield site by doing solar energy. This was just before the government introduced the Renewable Energy Act 2011.”

Chow said the introduction of the Feed-in Tarriff (FiT) mechanism, has opened up opportunities in renewable energy generation as a viable business model as the clean energy generated could be sold at a premium rate to Tenaga Nasional Bhd.

This led her to upskill by taking up courses and acquiring competency and certification to design and install solar energy systems.

In 2013, Samaiden was incorporated, and started with the installation of solar panel installation in residential houses under the FiT scheme before gradually moving projects in school and culminating its project in the Plaza Metro Kajang shopping mall.

“Originally, Samaiden’s objective was to do small projects such as these, but the opportunity arose for bigger projects as the incentives have changed from a FiT mechanism to a large scale solar (LSS) and net metering,” explained the managing director.

With the LSS1, the group was successful in assisting its client to secure a quota, which led to a 20 megawatt (MW) engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contract for a project in Seberang Prai, Penang.

“The project was the start of the group’s transformation as it is valued close to RM100 million. That’s how we transformed from small residential houses and commercial buildings into solar farms,” she said.

Following the award, the group has gone from strength to strength, as it secured more projects in LSS2, a 5MW project in Mersing, Johor and a 10MW project in Kluang, Johor.

Being a part of Malaysia’s renewable energy industry since its nascent stage, Chow observed that the country started early but adopted a progressive approach which has proved to be a winning strategy, opting for 500MW intervals.

She noted that other countries rushed headlong into solar energy opt for a generation of a few gigawatts (GW) at one go, which has resulted in difficulties as their infrastructure struggles to cope with the sudden spike in electricity generation.

The managing director stated that Malaysia’s progressive approach has allowed the transmission line and infrastructure to be upgraded accordingly and makes for more sustainable business for the sector.

The approach has also translated a more competitive rate, with LSS1’s lowest bid at 39 sen per kiloWatt hour (kWh). LSS2’s lowest bid was roughly 34 sen per kWh and LSS3 saw bids from 17 to 23 sen per kWh.

To illustrate her point, Chow stated that the latest solar panels could generate and estimated 450 watts compared to 245 watts generated by a solar panel of the same size produced in 2015.

“In short, there is a marked improvement in efficiency driven by the latest development in solar technology,” she said.

Overall, Chow observed that the country’s renewable energy sector is very dynamic, as evidenced by the changes that started with the enactment of the Renewable Energy Act 2011, and changed since then in line with global trends.

Source: The Sun Daily