5B uses modular, relocatable solar tech for 89.7 MW hybrid microgrid


From pv magazine Australia

5B has started rolling out 528 of its pre-assembled, relocatable and modular Maverick solar arrays for a 26 MW solar farm. The project is a component of an 89.7 MW hybrid power station that will be owned and operated by Western Australia-based independent power producer Zenith Energy.

The off-grid facility at Bellevue Gold’s gold mining operation about 40 km north of Leinster, Western Australia, will use a combination of solar and wind generation backed by battery storage to meet up to 80% of the project’s power needs with renewable energy.

Zenith said the hybrid power solution, which will also include some gas power back-up, will also allow the gold mine to operate on 100% renewable energy and switch to an “engine-off” mode during periods of high renewable energy generation.

Perth-based Bellevue Gold said the mining operation, which recommenced production earlier this month after sitting dormant for more than 20 years. aims to be a net-zero emission site by 2026.

Bellevue Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Darren Stralow said the solar facility will be key to achieving that goal.

“This will help to reduce costs and reduce emissions, whilst providing a reliable power supply to our operations,” he said, adding that 5B’s Maverick system is “especially useful, given we have been able to design the solar farm with more megawatts of solar capacity for less ground disturbance than other solar panel options.”

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The miner is aiming to produce “green gold” at Bellevue, which it intends to sell at a premium.

For 5B, the Bellevue mine project is part of its ongoing association with Zenith, serving as deployment partner on its portfolio of more than 400 MW of off-grid and remote power generation projects across Western Australia and the Northern Territory, predominantly for resources projects.

5B Chief Executive Officer David Griffin said off-grid mining applications are among the high-performing “sweet-spots” for the company’s Maverick technology, with the relocatable solar solution delivering competitively priced dispatchable energy.

“Our Maverick 3.0 array delivers the lowest capex, opex and levelised cost of energy for our customers,” he said. “Every time modules get cheaper our value proposition goes up. Modules were $0.22 per W last October, they have since fallen by about 50%.”

The solar at Bellevue Gold is to be completed in two stages. The first 20 MW of solar is planned to be completed before June, while the 6 MW second stage will be brought online later this year.

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