Energy Storage

24 Apr 2022

Solar Battery System Project in the Works for Mozambique

24 Apr 2022  by   

Image credit: [email protected]

The Syrah Resources Limited (Syrah) Board has announced its approval to finance a solar and battery hybrid power system at its Balama graphite operation in Mozambique, taking advantage of the high solar irradiation potential of the site location.

Syrah Resources selected an 11.25MWp solar photovoltaic (PV) installation combined with an 8.5MW/MWh battery energy storage system which will be integrated into Balama’s existing diesel power generation plant. Extensive due diligence was undertaken on equipment selection and suppliers of the solar PV modules, battery energy storage technology and hybrid control system.

Presently, Balama is solely powered by a 15MW on-site diesel generation power plant, which is 100% Syrah owned and operated. This system was originally selected as a low-risk power option for the Balama development. However, grid electricity is not currently available for Balama’s power requirements because of a lack of proximate high-voltage transmission infrastructure.

Therefore, following the execution of a memorandum of understanding with Solar Century Africa Limited in December 2020, Syrah and Solarcentury Africa completed the design, detailed engineering and procured, structured and arranged the funding for a solar battery system.

On average, the solar battery system will supply approximately 35% of Balama’s site power requirements, yielding an approximately 35% reduction in diesel consumed for power generation. During peak daylight times, the solar battery system will be able to supply up to 100% of Balama’s power requirements.

CrossBoundary Energy (CBE) provided the funding for the project, which will be delivered under a build-own-operate-transfer (“BOOT”) arrangement, comprising a 10-year operating lease and an operating and maintenance contract with a Mozambique incorporated project company to be wholly owned by CBE. This project company will construct, own and operate the solar battery system over the BOOT term.

Operations and ownership of the solar battery system will be transferred to Syrah at no cost at the end of the 10-year BOOT term. Solarcentury Africa will continue to work closely with Syrah and CBE during the construction, delivery and installation of the solar battery system and up to the commercial operation, which is scheduled to be commissioned and operating before the end of the March 2023.

Syrah Managing Director and CEO Shaun Verner said the installation of a large-scale solar and battery hybrid power system is expected to reduce operating costs at Balama and further strengthen the ESG credentials of the mine’s natural graphite products. “This project represents an initial step in reducing the global warming potential of Balama and the Vidalia active anode material facility in Louisiana, USA.”

The solar battery system is forecast to derive C1 cost savings of approximately $8 per tonne at a 15kt per month production rate, which is incorporated in Balama C1 cash cost (FOB Nacala) guidance of $430–470 per tonne at a 15kt per month production rate. The project is forecast to generate an attractive return on capital due to the low upfront capital costs, fixed costs payable by Syrah under the 10-year BOOT arrangement and the significant cost savings from reduced diesel consumption.

The solar battery system will reduce the global warming potential or produce carbon equivalent emissions of Balama natural graphite products. Syrah’s independent lifecycle assessment estimated that the solar battery system would reduce the global warming potential of producing natural graphite from Balama mine and transporting it to Nacala port from 0.48kg to 0.42kg CO2 equivalent per 1kg natural graphite, representing a 12.5% reduction. The solar battery system is estimated to reduce Balama’s global warming potential by 18kt CO2 equivalent per annum, on average, over the life of the operation.

The effect of energy systems at mines on energy access in Africa will be discussed at Enlit Africa.


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