Gavin Adda, CEO of Total Solar Distributed Generation SEA, discusses the way forward in the expansion of its solar energy business.
How is Total expanding its business to solar energy?
The Energy industry is one of the largest globally and it is experiencing massive disruption. It is currently dominated by centralized power generation and complex transmission/distribution resources. Going forward, companies will have the option to disengage and manage power requirements locally with solar and batteries. This will enable them to reduce power costs and volatility.
Total Solar DG SEA wants to be at the heart of that disruption. Right now, the rooftop solar industry is just starting to take off across South-East Asia. We expect it to rapidly grow into a multi-billion dollar sector. Total actively contributes to the growth of solar energy worldwide by designing and operating utility- scale power plants and supplying industrial and commercial customers with solar energy generated locally within their facilities.
For South-East Asia, Total Solar DG develops, constructs and operates solar systems for industrial customers. The customer pays nothing upfront but receives a significant discount on their grid power costs and reduces their carbon footprint. Customers often reduce their power costs by 10-20% with this solution. This model is new in South-East Asia and Total is bringing best practices from more mature markets where we have been delivering these projects for more than a decade.
What are the advantages of choosing solar energy?
Grid costs are rising sharply across most of Asia. Meanwhile, solar costs have reduced at 10-20% annually. Many customers are waking up to that reality and realizing that building a sustainable business can include significant cost reduction.
There is increasing pressure on companies to move to renewable energy. This pressure is felt across a wide spectrum from large brands requiring their supply chain to implement onsite solar as investment funds are refocusing on renewable assets. Many of our customers have found a significant uptick in sales as they highlight their CSR engagements more actively.
Finally, we see many customers suffering from poor access to grid power. In that situation, they are often relying on diesel generators to support their business at astronomic costs but solar can often slash costs by more than 50%.
What are the main projects operated by Total Solar DG Southeast Asia in Singapore and in the region?
Total Solar DG SEA was one of the first companies to provide a no-capex, clean-energy solution in Indonesia. We are providing solar solutions for 4 of Danone’s facilities. Again, this should drive substantial cost savings as well as positive marketing impact.
In Singapore, we have implemented solar solutions for a variety of logistics companies.This includes the famed Bolloré Logistics facility – Green Hub. They recently won the coveted Green Logistics award for Asia. The plan is to provide around 30% of their power through an onsite solar system and cut power costs dramatically. They expect savings of USD2.5m.
Total is also installing solar systems on 4,000 petrol stations and 1,500 of our own facilities globally.This includes one of our lubricants plants in Singapore.
Could you elaborate on the Total Lubricants Blending Plant in Tuas?
This facility is Total’s largest state-of-the-art lubricants oil blending plant. It produces 310,000 metric tons of lubricants annually, used mainly for automotive production, and industrial and marine applications in the ASEAN market.
The PV solar system installation has a 1200 kW capacity. The solar panels will contribute 35% of the site’s energy requirements and complement other cleaner energy that Total uses, such as natural gas, to reduce reliance on traditional fuels. The system is expected to generate as much power as 132 solarised four-bedroom HDB flats annually and will allow an annual reduction of up to 528 tons of CO2.