ONE of the world's largest integrated solar plant opened in Singapore on Wednesday, marking a milestone in the country's fledgling clean technology industry.

The Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) facility at Tuas, built at a cost of $2.5 billion, is the largest cleantech investment ever made in Singapore.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who officiated the opening, said the new complex is a 'key piece in Singapore's clean energy strategy'.

This industry had been identified as a major growth pillar for the economy and Singapore can position itself for this long term development, 'contributing to global energy solutions while tapping the economic spinoffs'.

Mr Lee said Singapore had identified clean energy as a major growth area for the economy, and is positioning itself for the growth of the cleantech industry.

He added that the country's biggest strength was 'the Singapore worker', who underpins the city-state's competitiveness.

Chief executive officer of REC Ole Enger said at the opening ceremony that REC had received an overwhelming number of applications for its job - 35,000 applications from just one advertisement.

He added he was 'impressed by the continuous improvement culture' that Singapore employees brought to REC.

The plant has employed 1,500 workers in Singapore to date, and will have a 1,700-strong workforce when fully operational.

The facility was built 20 per cent below the initial budget, and is one to two months ahead of schedule, recently producing its one millionth solar module.

The 321,000 sq m site produces more than 190,000 solar modules per month.

Mr Enger added: 'We are confident with the completion of REC's plant that solar is here to stay and will be an important energy source in the coming years.'

REC opens $2.5b solar plant