African focused solar energy developer, Solarcentury Africa, has announced the achievement of financial close for the solar PV and battery energy storage hybrid power system for Balama graphite mine in Mozambique, owned by Syrah Resources Limited of Australia.
The hybrid power system will comprise a 11.25 MWp solar PV plant combined with an 8.5 MW/MWh battery energy storage system. The new plant will be integrated with the Mine’s existing thermal power generation plant and managed by a hybrid power control system.
Solarcentury Africa undertook the design, detailed engineering and procurement of, and structured and arranged the funding for, the hybrid power system, working closely with Syrah to ensure the system is optimised for the Mine’s needs.
The hybrid power system will be delivered under a 10-year build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) arrangement, with a Mozambique incorporated project company in charge of constructing, owning, operating and maintaining the system during the BOOT period before transferring ownership to Syrah at the end of this arrangement.
Funding for the project company has been arranged and structured by Solarcentury Africa and will be provided by Sub-Saharan Africa renewable energy IPP CrossBoundary Energy (CBE).
“Solarcentury Africa and Syrah have today attained an important milestone reaffirming their commitment to help decarbonise the extractive industry,” said Jason De Carteret, Head of Solarcentury Africa.
“We are immensely proud of our engineering team who have succeeded in securing this sector-leading renewable energy penetration rate of 35% that will vastly reduce Syrah’s carbon emissions. Syrah has been an outstanding partner to work with and we are greatly looking forward to the next phase of the implementation,” De Carteret added.
Improving the mine’s ESG credentials
Once completed, the hybrid solar-storage system will result in significant operational cost savings and reductions in CO2 emissions for the Balama graphite mine. This facility will also strengthen the ESG credentials of Balama graphite mine’s products.
The Mine currently relies entirely on diesel power generation and a grid connection is not viable. The hybrid power system will supply approximately 35% of the Mine’s power needs, resulting in a c. 35% reduction of diesel consumption. At times, the hybrid power system will be able to supply up to 100% of the Mine’s power needs.
Syrah and Solarcentury Africa have obtained all required licences to commence construction of the hybrid power system and full operation is scheduled by the end of Q1 2023. Solarcentury Africa will continue to work closely with Syrah and CBE during construction, delivery and installation of the hybrid power system up to commercial operation.