Argentinian lithium miner sourcing electricity from 100 MW solar farm

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From pv magazine LatAm

Minera Exar has signed a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) to procure solar power from a 100 MW solar plant owned by Argentina-based oil supplier YPF Luz.

Minera Exar will use the electricity to partly power its lithium mining operations at Salar Cauchari-Olaroz in Jujuy province, Argentina. The company has committed to purchasing 36,000 MWh per year for a minimum of 10 years, as stated in an official announcement.

YPF Luz's Zonda solar facility, inaugurated in April, constitutes the initial phase of a larger 300 MW solar project, the subsequent stages of which remain unspecified. Minera Exar's adoption of solar energy through the Zonda solar park has enabled the launch of lithium production at Salar Cauchari-Olaroz in July.

The construction of the 100 MW Zonda solar facility was undertaken with an investment of approximately $90 million by YPF Luz. About $63.9 million of the funds were secured by issuing a green bond. Construction started in February 2022, and the plant features 170,880 bifacial panels spanning 200 hectares, with a capacity factor of 36%.

Minera Exar is a collaborative venture between Lithium Americas Corp, Ganfeng Lithium, and Jujuy Energía y Minería Sociedad del Estado (Jemse).

The broader $1 billion Cauchari-Olaroz project aims to establish an initial lithium production facility capable of producing 40,000 tons per year. Preparations are already underway for a subsequent phase to expand production capacity by an additional 20,000 tons per year.

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