The Edge, 29 August 2022 :

ILLUSTRATING its continued commitment to enriching the youths of today and tomorrow, GSPARX formed a strategic collaboration with Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) forthe installation of rooftop solar PV facilities on 25 buildings and structures across the public university’s campus.

In addition to the provision of renewable energy (RE) generation, the collaboration also paved the way for a public-private partnership in the form of a research and development (R&D) collaboration.

In regards to the project’s execution, GSPARX faced a multitude of challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. One such roadblock was the Covid-19-compliant standard operating procedures enacted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, which hampered its installation processes.

The company persevered through these hurdles, however, and showcased its ability to adapt and successfully executed the project in the allotted time period agreed upon.

GSPARX managing director Elmie Fairul Mashuri explains: “As GSPARX operates a ‘Just-In-Time’ inventory management for large-scale projects, the timeliness factor remains the biggest challenge to ensure that the manufacturing, import and installation logistics are arranged in due time.

“With the right crisis management in place and commitment by the GSPARX team, the project installation was successfully completed within the allocated objective window of six months.”

Meanwhile, the task of financing a large-scale solar PV system is a challenge in itself. Coupled with the constrained funding of a public university, GSPARX’s zero-capex solution served as an ideal avenue to facilitate RE investment.

Elmie says: “Under [the zero-capex financing] business model, no capital outlay is required from UTHM, and GSPARX takes care of the system throughout the contract period by covering the operating expenditure and maintenance of the system.

“In return, GSPARX charges for the solar energy generated at a fixed rate that is lower than the grid tariff. Thus, UTHM would definitely benefit from cost savings in its electricity bill with this hassle-free solution.”

For efficient use of the available rooftop surface area, the UTHM project uniquely featured car park and walkway structure rooftops to further increase the total output of solar energy generation.

“Recalling an annual solar generation, displacing import from the grid by about 8.82 megawatt-hour (MWh), the UTHM project is definitely aligned with Malaysia’s net zero emission by 2050 target, and the Asean Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation 2016-2025 – which aims to raise the contribution of RE by 23% by 2025 in the overall Asean primary energy mix,” Elmie says.

UTHM Faculty of Electrical and Electronic Engineering head of department of electrical engineering and associate professor Dr Mohd Noor Abdullah says the university’s collaboration with GSPARX had given rise to a myriad of opportunities for its staff and students to undertake industrial training with the company in the field of solar PV.

“Via this exercise, the staff and students were given the necessary training and exposure to a functional solar PV system and RE technology, which contribute to the reduction of GHG emission,” he adds.

Meanwhile, GSPARX secured a mammoth project with Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), comprising the installation of a solar PV system geared with a 16.18 megawatt-peak (MWp) capacity across 16 sites — inclusive of a mosque, parking structure and floating solar system.

The solar PV system is further utilised forthe university’s purposes of research and human capital development.

The ambitious project is not only positioned as GSPARX’s largest project so far involving an educational institution, but also the largest solar installation among public institutions of learning nationwide. It is due for completion in the second half of 2022.