Australian mining giant Syrah Resources has signed a memorandum of understanding with Solarcentury’s African unit to install 11.2 MW of solar and an 8.5 MW battery storage system at a graphite mine in Balama, Mozambique.
Under a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) arrangement, Solar Century Africa will set up the project to complement an existing 15 MW diesel generation power plant at the site.
“Progression of a large-scale solar and battery installation will reduce the operating cost base at Balama and further strengthen the [environmental, social and governance] credentials of Balama’s natural graphite supply,” said Syrah Resources Managing Director and CEO Shaun Verner.
The two companies analyzed a range of technical designs and pricing options for a number of potential solar and battery solutions before settling on an 11.2 MW solar array and 8.5 MW battery system as the best choice. The MOU details the terms and conditions under which they will continue to develop, build and run the system, in addition to coming up with funding options. Syrah Resources said it is trying to become the first non-Chinese, vertically integrated producer of natural graphite active anode materials.
Mozambique’s total installed PV capacity remains negligible, standing at just 55 MW by the end of 2019, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). However, development is now proceeding at a fast clip, despite the pandemic.
In October, for example, French independent power producer Neoen began developing a 41 MW solar project in Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique. It is expected to be the nation’s largest PV plant upon completion.
Also in October, Mozambique’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy began tendering three 40 MW solar projects. National utility Electricidade de Mocambique (EDM) will likely buy the electricity from the projects once they are completed.