juwi to develop and run 10.6 MW plant in Australia


Mining company Sandfire Resources NL is looking to implement 34,080 solar panels on one off-grid site in western Australia.

The site, located at the DeGrussa mine 900 kilometres from Perth and slated to cost AUD $40 million, will be managed, developed, and owned by juwi. The site will have a capacity of 10.6 MW and storage will be in lithium-ion batteries with 6 MW capacity. juwi is coordinating the investment of AUD $39 million into the plant, and will own and operate the facility. The remaining investment will originate from Sandfire Resources.

The solar power station will be fully integrated within the existing 20 MW diesel-fired power station at DeGrussa. Construction is set to begin in Q2 2015 once financial conditions have been met. This is expected to happen by the middle of this year.

Andrew Drager, managing director of juwi Australia, said that the initial lifespan of the mine would be six years, although this could be extended. He added that complex arrangements had been made in order to mitigate the risks with such a short lifespan. He added, “It has taken eighteen months and has been pretty complex. A lot of that has been technical with issues such as power outages and fluctuation costs. A lot of our work in that time has been about due diligence with financiers, along with everyone else. That takes its time.”

The solar power station will be fully integrated with the existing 20MW diesel-fired power station at DeGrussa, which is owned and operated by Kalgoorlie Power Systems. Drager said that the name of the supplier of the modules would be made public in a couple of months.

Drager previously ran Brisbane-based Qi Power before it was taken over by juwi last year. juwi’s purchase of Qi Power was largely seen as a continuing move by the solar giant into Australia through its acquisition of the company, which specialised in providing off-grid hybrid systems for rural areas. That move seems to be part of juwi’s overarching plan to extend and expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, as detailed here just over three weeks ago.