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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    Laing O’Rourke



    ARENA Program

    Advancing Renewables Program

  • Start date

    1 April 2017

    End date

    15 January 2021

  • Project Partners
    This solar PV project was completed on 15 January 2021.


The project involves the fabrication of a 1 MW redeployable solar system (‘SunSHIFT’) that will be designed, constructed, ground-transported, and assembled at the South32 Cannington mine site in central Queensland.

The solar system can be removed and re-deployed elsewhere if it is no longer needed, or if the mine site is decommissioned. The project aims to prove that a modular and redeployable solar system can be deployed at scale, packed-up and redeployed, providing a cleaner and more cost effective alternative to diesel generators for off-grid users such as mines, construction sites and remote communities.

How the project works

Remote communities, mines and construction sites have traditionally depended on diesel and natural gas, which can be expensive.

Small-scale renewable generation presents new opportunities to improve energy supply, reduce the need for network augmentation and reduce electricity costs. However, there have previously been few options available to deploy renewable energy systems for short-term arrangements (five to ten years).

The redeployable asset helps mitigate the owner’s risk of an asset outliving the life of a mine and means decisions about long-term investments are easier to make.

Area of innovation

This project aims to prove that SunSHIFT can be used in on- and off-grid applications as a standalone system or integrated with other energy sources and storage. This could lead to opportunities to energy the global, temporary power market.

SunSHIFT has been developed and demonstrated with the support of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and technology partners SunPower and ABB.


Renewable energy can reduce the reliance of regional communities and industries on trucked-in diesel. The permanent and long term nature of solar installations has been a key barrier to their use in mining operations (in particular).

The SunSHIFT system is designed to be used at multiple, successive sites. This innovation allows a wider number of locations to benefit a single plant, without any one site needing to commit to a permanent installation.

Last updated 03 February 2021
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