Miner turns to Maverick technology in search for ‘green gold’


5B has started rolling out 528 of its pre-assembled and relocatable modular Maverick solar arrays that will form a 26 MW solar farm that is a component of the 89.7 MW hybrid power station that will be owned and operated by Western Australian-based independent power producer Zenith Energy.

The off-grid facility at Bellevue Gold’s gold mining operation about 40 kilometres north of Leinster in Western Australia’s southeast will use a combination of solar and wind generation backed by battery storage to meet up to 80% of the project’s power needs with renewable energy.

Zenith said the hybrid power solution, that will also include some gas power back-up, will also allow the gold mine to operate on 100% renewable energy and switch to an ‘engine-off’ mode during periods of high renewable energy generation.

Perth-headquartered Bellevue said the mining operation, which recommenced production earlier this month after sitting dormant for more than 20 years. aims to be a net-zero emission site by 2026.

Bellevue Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Darren Stralow said the solar facility will be key to achieving that goal.

“This will help to reduce costs and reduce emissions, whilst providing a reliable power supply to our operations,” he said, adding that 5B’s Maverick system is “especially useful, given we have been able to design the solar farm with more megawatts of solar capacity for less ground disturbance than other solar panel options.”

The miner is aiming to produce ‘green gold’ at Bellevue which it intends to sell at a premium.

For 5B, the Bellevue mine project is part of its ongoing association with Zenith, seving as deployment partner on its portfolio of more than 400 MW of off-grid and remote power generation projects across WA and the Northern Territory, predominantly for resources projects.

5B Chief Executive Officer David Griffin said off-grid mining applications are among the high-performing “sweet-spots” for the company’s Maverick technology, with the relocatable solar solution delivering competitively priced dispatchable energy.

“Our Maverick 3.0 array delivers the lowest capex, opex and levelised cost of energy for our customers,” he said.

“Every time modules get cheaper our value proposition goes up. Modules were USD 0.22 ($0.34) per W last October, they have since fallen by about 50%.”

The solar at Bellevue is to be completed in two stages. The first 20 MW of solar is planned to be completed before June while the 6 MW second stage will be brought online in CYQ3 2024.

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