What is said to be the world’s largest off-grid solar-battery hybrid system for the mining industry has been commissioned at a gold mine in Mali, West Africa.

The plant has been integrated with existing heavy fuel oil generation at the Fekola mine operated by B2Gold.  

The mine operates 24-hours a day and during daylight hours, the new 30 MW solar plant installed by German firms Suntrace and BayWa r.e. allows three out of six heavy fuel oil generators to be shut down, while a 15.4 MWh battery storage system smooths generation fluctuations. 

The integration of the solar-battery system is expected to save 13.1 million litres of heavy fuel oil a year and cut CO2 emissions by 39 000 tonnes at the same time.

Dennis Stansbury of B2Gold said: “This is a landmark project which we expect to pave the way for more sustainable power generation within the mining industry in West Africa.”

Thorsten Althaus, Project Manager at BayWa r.e., added: “Integrating such a large amount of solar into a small, isolated grid safely and reliably has been a major technical challenge and required the use of battery storage as well as a tailor-made control system.

“This was conceptualized in the early stages and it is extremely rewarding to see how well this solution performs in reality and shows that the technology works and is just waiting to be applied on further projects.”

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