A 3MW solar farm built to help power South32’s Cannington is now supplying the silver, lead and zinc mine with renewable electricity alongside an existing gas plant.
The 7200-panel solar farm was installed by Energy Developments Pty Ltd, the first of its kind in Australia to be integrated with a gas-fired power station.
The solar array was built by SunSHIFT, using its pre-fabricated, modular and moveable PV technology for large-scale electricity generation.
South32 said the six-hectare solar farm would supply the site’s accommodation village and airport, with surplus power supporting mining and processing operations.
“This is our first solar installation and will help to deliver reduced greenhouse gas emissions by offsetting gas consumption,” the company said.
South32 said the PV project – which contributes to the objectives of the company’s Climate Change Strategy – is the second largest such installation in a remote, off-grid mining operation in Australia behind DeGrussa copper mine in WA.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a big part of our energy strategy so I’m delighted our Cannington operation’s solar installation is leading the way,” said South32’s Rob Jackson, vice president of Cannington operations.
“It’s an exciting time in the industry when renewable energy technology and innovation is applied to deliver power to our world-class remote mining operations.”
South32 says that the cost to install and operate the solar farm would be offset by lower fuel costs, making it an economically viable solution for the company.
EDL, which also developed the mine’s 40MW gas power station, specialises in customising remote, renewable hybrid generation solutions, and played a key role in taking the South Australian mining town of Coober Pedy to 100% renewables.
“At EDL we are committed to delivering innovative, tailored solutions that provide reliable, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable energy,” EDL CEO James Harman said.
“EDL is leading the way in remote, renewable hybrid generation and we look forward to developing many more projects like this all around Australia.”
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