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Singapore: ABB has provided the Swedish retailer IKEA with 20 of its TRIO-50 solar inverters to power a rooftop solar system on its flagship store in Singapore, located in the eastern suburb of Tampines. The system is expected to generate 1.3 million kilowatt (kW) hours per year — enough renewable energy to power more than 280 households. Installation of the solar panels began at the IKEA store in March 2017 and the project went live in December 2017.

ABB won the order through its customer, a leading solar system integrator, Phoenix Solar, in the first quarter of 2017. With this rooftop system, IKEA expects to trim an estimated US$2.4 million from the store’s electrical bills over the next ten years.

Designed to combine the performance and price competitiveness of a central inverter with the portability and flexibility of a string inverter, the TRIO-50 will see further deployment on other IKEA roofs in South East Asia. In Malaysia, 500 kW of the TRIO-50 will power the IPC Shopping Center, South East Asia’s first shopping mall anchored by IKEA. In Thailand, the upcoming IKEA store at Bangyai, near Bangkok will feature 1.5 megawatts of the TRIO-50 on its rooftop carport.

Like IKEA, the rest of the corporate sector is poised to build more rooftop solar plants in the coming few years owing to the rapidly increasing economic viability of solar power. According to GTM Research, commercial rooftop installation costs have declined almost 30 percent in the past five years driven largely by falling solar panel costs. Solar has allowed corporate solar customers like IKEA to achieve financial and operational savings in addition to carbon footprint goals.

Outside the corporate sector, governments in South East Asia have also embraced renewable initiatives, such as Singapore’s Economic Development Board’s Solarnova projects, Thailand’s Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP), and Malaysia’s Sustainable Energy Authority (SEDA) policies, laying the foundation for sunnier days ahead in the region.

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