Forty million dollar solar project kicks off in WA

The construction phase of a 10.6MW solar plant at a Western Australian copper mine has begun, with the first of 34,000 panels now installed.

German solar developer Juwi AG has the contract to install the $40 million solar facility for Australian mining company Sandfire Resources, which operates the DeGrussa copper mine.

The project, claimed to be the largest off grid solar facility of its kind in the world, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

The mine already uses a 19MW diesel fired system, and the new solar plant will be full integrated and combined with a 6MW battery.

Installation of the solar system is expected to cut diesel consumption by more than 20 per cent.

Funding has been provided by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corp. Juwi has built up a presence in Australia, but is largely focused on the eastern seaboard. In January 2014 the company took a majority stake in Queensland PV supplier Qi Power.