Rio Tinto said the new solar power plant will feature more than 6,600 bifacial PV panels. They will generate energy from direct sunlight and from the light that reflects off the snow. It is expected the facility will generate approximately 4.2 GWh of clean energy per year, or up to 25% of Diavik’s power needs.
Diavik Diamond Mine President and Chief Operating Officer Angela Bigg said the solar plant will significantly expand the operation’s existing renewable energy generation, which already features a wind-diesel hybrid power facility that has a capacity of 55.4 MW.
“We will be significantly increasing our renewable power generation with the largest solar power plant in Canada’s northern territories,” she said. “The combination of solar and wind power will work well together as solar is more predictable than wind, but wind can generate power at all times of the day. Having both will provide more consistent renewable generation.”
Rio Tinto, which is targeting net zero emissions across its global operations by 2050, expects the solar plant to reduce diesel consumption at the Diavik site by approximately 1 million liters per year and reduce carbon emissions by 2,900 tons.
Construction of the solar plant is expected to start in the coming weeks, with the facility scheduled to be fully operational in the first half of 2024. The project is supported by more than CAD 3.6 million ($2.7 million) in funding from the Canadian government.
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