juwi has started installation of first solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for the 10.6MW solar power plant at Sandfire Resources‘ DeGrussa copper mine in Western Australia and is set to complete the project by early next year.

The solar plant will be integrated with the existing 19MW diesel-fired power station at the DeGrussa Mine to cut fossil fuel consumption.

The $40m project will comprise 34,080 solar PV panels that cover a total area of 20ha at a site next to the DeGrussa underground mine and processing plant.

It is expected to reduce diesel consumption by more than 20%, with carbon emissions at the mine falling by more than 12,000t per annum.

Single axis tracking and a 6MW battery will be used by the company, which will allow the solar panels to track the sun during daytime to supply the majority of electricity required by the mining operation.

"The advancement of this project can allow Calista to meet both ANCSA goals by providing an opportunity to develop partnerships for future low-cost energy."

Regarding site electrical work, underground electrical infrastructure such as conduits have been installed and will connect the facility to the 6MW lithium-ion battery storage facility, as well as the mine’s existing 19MW diesel-fired power station.

juwi hopes to complete installation of the solar PV modules early in 2016 with other items including the solar inverter, transformers and other electrical accessories and control systems planned to be installed soon.

Bench-scale test-work is also progressing, which will integrate the new solar power facility, the battery storage facility and the diesel-fired power station.

The first electricity from the facility is expected to be delivered during the first quarter of CY 2016.

juwi will provide all services related to engineering, procurement, construction, operation and maintenance of the project and has undertaken on-site surveying and installation in conjunction with contractor OTOC Australia.

The project will receive $20.9m funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and the remaining from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the French IPP Neoen.

juwi Australia managing director Andrew Drager said: "Now that we are half-way through construction, it is a good time to reflect on the many achievements to date.

"Most importantly, we have done so without personal injury, which sets the standard for the safe and efficient installation of future renewable energy projects in the mining sector."

Image: Activities are well advanced at the project with all posts installed, racking 50% complete and first panels being mounted. Photo: courtesy of juwi AG.