A hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV)-diesel power system has been commissioned at a Western Australian copper and gold mine.

Mining firm Sandfire Resources’ DeGrussa Mine, located 900 km northeast of Perth, now features a 20-ha, 10.6 MW solar array (pictured) integrated with an existing diesel power station. The array is comprised of 34,080 PV panels, which are expected to supply 15% of the mine’s power needs.

The $40 million project includes a 6 MW energy storage installation comprised of over 400 lithium-ion batteries.

During the winter months, the solar system is expected to provide 7 MW, with the rest coming from diesel power. In summer the full 10.6 MW of solar capacity will be used.

Sandfire said the solar plant is expected to reduce the mine’s carbon dioxide emissions by around 12,000 tonnes per year.