#DeGrussa#Sandfire Resources#DeGrussa Solar Project#gold-c

Australia's largest ever solar power system is up and running in DeGrussa gold-copper mine

The largest integrated off-the-grid solar power system in Australia is officially live, sitting within the DeGrussa copper-gold mine. Sandfire Resource...

Dale Benton
|Jun 8|magazine7 min read

The largest integrated off-the-grid solar power system in Australia is officially live, sitting within the DeGrussa copper-gold mine.

Sandfire Resources, who own the underground mine in Western Australia, announced the completion of a $40million solar panel project, which saw 34,080 solar photovoltaic panels installed as part of a 10.6MW solar panel station.

Sandfire confirmed that the system was currently generating around 7 megawatts of power and is expected to reach its 10MW capacity this summer.

“This is the largest integrated off-grid solar and battery storage facility in Australia and draws together a number of technologies which are widely expected to have a transformational impact on the global economy over the next decade,” says Sandfire managing director Karl Simich.

“The DeGrussa Solar Project is expected to reduce our annual diesel consumption and cut our carbon emissions by more than 12,000 tonnes of CO2 annually – a reduction of more than 15 per cent based on our reported emissions for the 2016 financial year.” he says.

Construction on the project began in July 2015.

The DeGrussa Solar Power project is owned by French renewable energy firm Neoen, with juwi Renewable Energy in charge of project development; engineering, procurement and construction, as well as operations and maintenance.

The plant was constructed by national surveying and infrastructure construction company OTOC Limited, with project financing provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and recoupable grant funding support of $20.9-million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The DeGrussa solar project incorporated NEXTracker solar trackers. NX Horizon™ self-powered tracker represents a technological innovation and a substantial cost savings for the Australian mining industry. The mine, which operates in an isolated area roughly 560 miles (900 km) north-east of Perth, was previously powered by a diesel generator facility. The introduction of NEXTracker’s solar solution has paved the way for one of the largest integrated solar installations in the country, providing peak power load to this essential local business.

The DeGrussa Mine project is a prime example of how an established, industrial powerhouse such as the mining industry can benefit from renewable energy.

The Solar Power project is expected to achieve savings in the consumption of diesel fuel and will, reduce DeGrussa’s CO2 emissions by an estimated 12,000 tonnes per year.

 

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Read the June 2016 issue of Mining Global magazine