About 34,000 solar panels were installed on a 20-hectare site at Sandfire's DeGrussa mine.

$40m solar facility commissioned

Wednesday, 8 June, 2016 - 14:24

Sandfire Resources has announced completion of a $40 million solar power facility at its DeGrussa copper-gold mine, with the plant achieving full generation capacity.

In a statement today, Sandfire said the facility was currently generating about 7 megawatts of power, with its full 10MW capacity expected to be reached during the summer months.

The project, which was developed under a joint venture between Perth-based OTOC and Germany company juwi Renewable Energy, involved the installation of about 34,000 solar panels on a 20-hectare site at DeGrussa.

The panels have been connected to a 6MW lithium-ion battery storage facility, and the existing 19MW diesel power station, which is owned and operated by Pacific Energy.

“This is the largest integrated off-grid solar and battery storage facility in Australia and draws together a number of technologies which are widely expected to have a transformational impact on the global economy over the next decade,” Sandfire managing director Karl Simich said.

“These include solar power combined with a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery storage facility, which has been used for the first time in a remote location at DeGrussa.

“The DeGrussa solar project is expected to reduce our annual diesel consumption and cut our carbon emissions by more than 12,000 tonnes of CO2 annually – a reduction of more than 15 per cent based on our reported emissions for the 2016 financial year.”

Mr Simich said the project underwent final testing and commissioning in May and was now fully operational.

Otoc chief executive Simon Thomas said the project showcased the company’s capability to deliver substantial infrastructure projects and market leading technologies in the renewable energy sector.

“With growing investment in renewable energy projects in Australia, we anticipate further infrastructure opportunities for Otoc in this sector,” he said.

Pacific managing director James Cullen congratulated Sandfire on completion of the facility.

“We acknowledge the involvement and cooperation of all parties who worked on the project and brought together a number of technologies to successfully develop the integrated power station facility,” Mr Cullen said.

Sandfire shares closed 0.25 per cent lower to $5.79 each, while Otoc shares were 2.6 per cent higher at 19.5 cents at the close.

Pacific shares gained 4.7 per cent, to 44 cents each.