DeGrussa solar project


  • Degrussa - solar aerial view

  • The first of 34,080 solar photovoltaic panels

  • Degrussa - undergound 1

  • Degrussa - underground 2

  • Degrussa - above ground

  • Sandfire sign

The project, commissioned in June 2016, involves the operation of a 10.6 MW solar PV installation with storage at the DeGrussa Copper Mine. Solar will provide the majority of the mine’s daytime electricity requirements, offsetting more than 20% of total diesel consumption annually. The project aims to increase knowledge and confidence in the use of renewable energy to power off-grid mine sites.

Lead organisation:
Project partners:
Sandfire Resources NL , Clean Energy Finance Corporation , OTOC Australia , Kalgoorlie Power Systems , Juwi Australia
Meekathara, WA
Solar energy
ARENA program:
Regional Australia's Renewables – Industry Program
Start date:
July 2015


Remote industries in Australia currently rely on 1.2 GW of power from diesel fuel that is prone to price volatility and supply interruptions.

Renewables offer a reliable alternative to trucked-in diesel in off-grid applications. However, renewable energy mining projects face a number of early-mover costs and barriers due to the small number of projects globally to draw knowledge, experience and confidence from.

Project innovation

Renewable energy firm juwi partnered with construction firm OTOC to construct the project, which is owned by the French renewable energy firm Neoen.

The DeGrussa mine, owned by Sandfire Resources NL, will purchase the power under a 5.5 year power purchase agreement. The solar PV plant is integrated into the existing 19 MW diesel generator facility, which is owned by independent power producer, Kalgoorlie Power Systems.

Single axis tracking and lithium ion battery storage allow more renewables to be used and will offset approximately 5 million litres of diesel fuel per annum, which is more than 20% of the mines total diesel consumption.

A detailed knowledge sharing plan has been developed to share operational data and information about the risks, diesel savings achieved and strategies to enable higher penetrations of renewables.


The project is intended to be a world leading example that increases confidence and drives further advancements in the use of renewable energy at mine sites. The project’s knowledge sharing plan aims to:

  • release operational performance data summaries to assist mining companies evaluate the risks of high penetration renewable energy integration into diesel power plants
  • illustrate the potential diesel and cost savings achievable by renewable energy in a mining setting
  • analyse the cost curve and key events that could enable high penetration solar PV opportunities to be economically deployed in Australia without subsidies.

This will help drive down first-of-a-kind costs and change perceptions about the risks associated with high penetration and critical load off-grid projects.

More information

Contact information

Chris Leonard, International Development Manager, Neoen
+61 2 9269 0170