Caterpillar and its dealer Barloworld have been selected to supply 7MW of solarpower for B2Gold’s Otjikoto Mine in the Republic of Namibia. 

The contract will deploy Cat PV solar modules and the company's microgrid master controller (MMC), which B2Gold intends to help reduce its dependence on a heavy fuel oil power plant currently used to deliver power at the mine. 

Located in Otjozondjupa and around 190m north of the capital city of Windhoek, the mine produced 166,285oz of gold last year. 

Under the deal, Barloworld is responsible for supplying engineering, procurement and construction services for the project. 

B2Gold Namibia managing director and country manager Mark Dawe said: "As one of the largest solar installations in Namibia, the facility at the Otjikoto Mine will help us to leverage a plentiful, renewable resource while improving the quality of life for nearby communities." 

The system is currently being installed and the project is scheduled to complete early next year.

"The facility at Otjikoto Mine will help us leverage a plentiful, renewable resource while improving the quality of life for nearby communities."

Powered by advanced thin-film solar modules, Caterpillar’s scalable and pre-engineered solar PV system is said to offer better performance compared to conventional silicon solar panels.

Caterpillar global power solutions division vice-president Tom Frake said: “Caterpillar’s solar technologies provide a scalable, sustainable power solution that significantly reduces fuel consumption while delivering the reliable power needed to support mining sites.”

Caterpillar’s solar PV components form a significant part of the Cat Microgrid technology suite.

In 2014, the company supplied 25MW of power capacity to the Otjikoto mine through four Cat 12CM32 HFO medium-speed engines and three Cat 3516B high-speed generator sets.  

Image: B2Gold’s Otjikoto gold mine. Photo: courtesy of Caterpillar.