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The first of 34,080 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels have been installed at Australia’s largest renewables mining project in central Western Australia.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing $20.9 million to support the $40 million project, which will see 10.6 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) with storage installed at the DeGrussa Copper-Gold Mine.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the project was shaping up to be a leading example of how mining operations can benefit from renewable energy.

“Construction of the 10.6 MW solar plant is well underway. Around 4,700 steel posts are installed and mounting of the single-axis tracking system and solar panels has begun,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“This is another demonstration of how rapidly construction of solar PV plants can advance in remote locations once projects are underway. The plant at Degrussa is expected to be up and running in a little over seven months from commencement.

“ARENA maintains a strong focus on encouraging off-grid industries to adopt more renewable energy. Solar and storage can offer a clear win-win in many off-grid applications by providing more predictable running costs that are often cheaper over the long term compared to diesel generators.”

Solar PV will provide the majority of the mine’s daytime electricity requirements, offsetting approximately 5 million litres of diesel per annum or more than 20% of total diesel consumption.

Mr Frischknecht said knowledge sharing was an integral part of the project that could drive down the cost of future projects and help increase the mining industry’s confidence in renewables.

“Performance data will make it easier for mining companies to evaluate the risks of integrating renewable energy with existing diesel generation and illustrate the potential diesel and cost savings that can be achieved,” Mr Frischknecht said.

Solar engineering company juwi is responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction, operation and maintenance of the facility. OTOC will undertake all surveying and onsite construction and installation services. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has committed up to $15 million in debt finance towards the project.

An online media kit containing images and the other parties’ media releases is available.

The project reached financial close in July 2015 and is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2016.

About juwi

The juwi Group is one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies specialising in the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (“EPC”) of utility-scale projects. With approximately 1,000 employees worldwide, juwi has been involved in the development, design, construction and operation of more than 1,500 solar PV projects and the installation of more than 700 wind turbines with a cumulated capacity of over 3,300MW.

About Neoen

Neoen, an independent energy company, was founded in 2008 on the initiative of French business leader Mr Jacques Veyrat. The company is a subsidiary of Impala SAS, a diversified investment group with over 6000 employees and a global presence. Capenergie II fund (managed by Omnes Capital) and Bpifrance, the French public investment bank, are the minority shareholders of Neoen. Neoen develops, finances, builds and operates power plants based on renewable energies (solar, wind and biomass). Neoen is active in France, Portugal, Australia, Mexico, Egypt and El Salvador and seeks to achieve installed power of over 1000MW by 2017.

About OTOC

OTOC Limited offers surveying, planning and infrastructure services throughout Australasia. A leading provider of professional consulting and innovative spatial solutions, OTOC delivers quality service to clients across a range of industry sectors. OTOC offers surveying services across land development, infrastructure and engineering surveying, aerial mapping, laser scanning, town planning and urban design. OTOC provides non process infrastructure construction and maintenance services to clients covering government, resources, utilities, remote area and renewable energy.

About the CEFC

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) invests using a commercial approach to overcome market barriers and mobilise investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies. Since its inception, the CEFC has committed over $1.4 billion in finance to investments in clean energy projects valued at over $3.5 billion. The CEFC invests for a positive financial return, with more than 55 direct investments. These projects help to improve energy productivity for businesses across Australia, develop local industries and generate new employment opportunities.

The CEFC operates under the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012.

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Last updated 27 August 2020
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