The changing landscape of the modular marketplace 


Western Australia based clean energy technology company CDI Energy has launched its own modular solar solution, called the Rapid Solar Module (RSM), a new entrant into the increasingly important modular solar space.

CDI Energy CEO and founder, Darryl Bower, told pv magazine Australia “RSM is up to 30% cheaper than traditional fixed axis PV or solar tracking”, though this doesn't include fellow Aussie modular maverick 5B. However, “unlike 5B and the peg system,” Bower says, RSM is 100% Australian made”, and its “partially pre-fabricated” design which is then assembled on site reduces costs. 

Modular solutions are proving increasingly popular, especially as a solution for remote sites like mining operations which want to reduce their diesel consumption.

“RSM modules have been designed for use across a range of industries including mining,” Bower continued. “They have a smaller footprint than competitors and lower capital outlay – making it more cost effective for mining companies to go green.” 

Mining on the move 

For at least the next few decades, mining is going to fuel the energy transition, and renewables like solar are, in turn, going to fuel mining. According to the “State of Play: Electrification” report – recently released by Virtual Consulting International and sponsored by the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre – 89% of the world’s leading mining executives expect mine sites around the globe to electrify within the next two decades. And 61% of mining industry respondents said they believe the first and most important step in the process of electrification is the development of renewable energy generation capacity.

The crucial element in decarbonizing the entire industry is finding solutions that fit mining companies’ requirements, said Thomas Hillig, managing director of THEnergy, a German management consultancy specializing in cleantech innovations. “One such solution is needed for remote, offgrid, and short-life mines,” Hillig explained.

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Of course, a particular appeal of modular systems for mining companies is not just the easy scalability of modular solutions, but that they can be easily packed up and re-deployed to a new site. 

In the last year CDI has installed more than 1 MW of RSM at sites in the Pilbara, Kimberley and Goldfields, with another 4 MW of planned projects in the pipeline. 

“Our clean energy options are designed to instantly reduce operating expenses,” said Bower. “We also have rental options for clients so we can build, own and operate the energy asset so there is no upfront capital required.”

This allows customers “who would have once rented a diesel generator – the ability to now rent a solar system for their short to medium term projects.” 

According to Bower, the RSM requires only 5,500m² per MW compared to 18,000-22,000m2 (approximately five acres) required by traditional fixed axis or solar tracking setups.

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