Sarawak launches Southeast Asia’s first 5G tower powered by solar-to-hydrogen microgrid system

Abang Johari (front row, third right) and other distinguished guests checking out the 5G tower powered by the solar-to-hydrogen microgrid system at Centexs headquarter on June 7, 2023.

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By Wilfred Pilo and Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 7: Sarawak has launched Southeast Asia’s first 5G tower powered by a solar-to-hydrogen microgrid system, a combined testbed that demonstrates the latest advancements in green energy development and scalability in the region.

Launched by Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, the combined solar testbed built on the rooftop and ground of Centre for Technology Excellence Sarawak (Centexs) headquarters here, boasts a total installed capacity of 425 kilowatt peak (kWp) with 780 solar panels, making it the biggest rooftop solar system in Sarawak.

The testbed includes a hydrogen system that can operate in hybrid mode either on or off grid and is fully powered by an on-site solar system. Through electrolysis, this system efficiently generates green hydrogen, which in turn powers the 5G telco system using hydrogen fuel cell (battery).

Commending Centexs, Solarvest Borneo and Huawei Technologies (Malaysia) for initiating the Smart Solar PV and Green Hydrogen Testbed, Abang Johari emphasised that this system can be deployed to not only power up villages and longhouses in remote locations which are not connected to the main grid, but also generate hydrogen.

“Currently, some longhouses and villages are installed with solar systems through Sares (Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme). If this technology can be deployed, rural areas can also produce hydrogen.

“As Sarawak embarks on using hydrogen for our public transport, it seems promising that rural areas can also generate hydrogen to power vehicles,” he told a press conference after officiating at Green Energy Symposium and Exhibition Sarawak (GEES) at Centexs headquarters today.

Abang Johari (centre) cutting a ribbon to officially launch the Smart Solar PV and Green Hydrogen Testbed at Centexs headquarters on June 7, 2023.

Abang Johari stressed that this alternative system would greatly improve the lives of rural people, enabling them to access electricity, refrigeration, and allowing children to study at night.

Moreover, he said, it would support the development of cottage industries, providing additional income opportunities through the production of local products such as biscuits and others.

With that, Abang Johari assured that the Sarawak government would fully support Centexs’ efforts to expand this system to rural and remote areas.

“Sarawak is now highly advanced and has enormous potential in the field of hydrogen and green economy, and ultimately working towards achieving a high income economy as aspired by 2030.

“Being in the tropics, Sarawak is blessed with natural beauty and resources, which have become the sources for generating green energy and driving the green economy. we must optimise this advantage,” he said.

With hydro (rainfall) and solar (sunlight) as the primary sources of power, Abang Johari disclosed that wind energy testing has yielded positive results which will add to Sarawak’s resources, apart from microalgae for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production, hydrogen and carbon storage that will further expand Sarawak’s resource portfolio.

“We possess abundant resources and it is only a matter of applying technology. Therefore, we must enhance our ecosystem by upgrading our infrastructure, including digital systems, and adequately train our human capital to prepare Sarawak towards the green future and economy,” he added.

Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Minister of Utility and Telecommunication Datuk Julaihi Narawi, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Urban Development, Datuk Len Talif Salleh, Deputy Minister of Talent Development Datuk Francis Harden Hollis, Deputy Minister of Telecommunication Datuk Liwan Lagang, Centexs chairman Tan Sri Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani and Centexs chief executive officer Syeed Mohd Hussien were among those present. — DayakDaily