The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has partly funded the second stage of development of a semi-portable solar solution, designed to supply offgrid mining operations. The first deployment of the technology will be a 1 MW hybrid solution incorporating 134 kW of PV. ARENA is providing AUD$450,000 (US$418,000) of the AUD$1.4 million (US$1.3 million) pilot project.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischnecht said that the progress of the project from the drawing board to first deployment indicates its clever Australian design and will deliver more clean electricity to remote mining operations.
The plant will consist of transport-friendly container-sized modules, including a control center and inverters with external, pre-wired connections to allow fast, easy setup and pack down, Mr Frischknecht said. A semi-portable hybrid system like this carries enormous potential it may provide industries and communities in regional and remote locations with a viable renewable energy alternative and could equally be used to assist in international relief efforts.
While ARENA has identified billions of dollars of opportunity for the renewable energy industry and solar in particular in supplying Australias mining operations alone, one of the impediments has been the short lifetimes of some mine projects and temporary requirement for power during mine construction phases.