Gold miner rolls out solar PV and battery system at exploration camp


The renewable solar energy system includes a 187 KW solar PV array, comprising 580 modules with 60 cells each, and a 408 KWh lithium battery energy storage hub.

The design and installation of phase one of the project, which is now complete, was undertaken by WA-based infrastructure firm Unlimited Energy Australia which custom designed the solar PV array and energy storage hub.

Unlimited Energy CEO George Zombori said they had opted for a modular design with fabrication completed offsite which had made for a quicker installation process. The modular design also means the system is scalable to assist future expansion and is relatively easy to move.

“We design energy solutions that meet the specific needs of our clients and make good economic sense,” Zombori said.

Zombori said the lithium-based energy storage system would add to value to the project, declaring the German-manufactured Tesvolt battery cells among of the safest on the market and well suited to the harsh conditions experienced at the camp site.

“We knew that there’s a perception that battery storage technology is an emerging technology, so eliminating the risk was of utmost importance to us,” he said.

Sharon Goddard, Gold Road’s head of social performance and external relations, said the off-grid solar PV system will offset approximately 70% of the camp’s diesel consumption and deliver environmental and cost benefits to the remote operation in Western Australia’s north-eastern Goldfields.

“The minimum impact on the environment, modular design, ability to relocate, economic viability and extendibility of the system are the main benefits,” she said.

Gold Road is also planning to install a hybrid microgrid at the nearby Gruyere gold project, a joint venture with fellow mining company Gold Fields.

The joint venture recently committed to installing a 13 MW solar farm, a 4 MW gas engine and a 4.4 MWh battery energy storage system at the site in 2021.

The hybrid microgrid is expected to increase the mine’s power capacity, reduce costs and increase plant output.

Western Australia Energy Minister Bill Johnston on Friday commended Gold Road for opting for renewable energy, declaring the “government is fully supportive of mining companies embracing renewable energy technologies, and is committed to transitioning to a low carbon future”.


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