Solar energy has become the most competitive energy source. In off-grid energy systems, solar energy combined with conventional energy generation and battery storage can provide secure power during day and night.
B2Gold Corp. (CA) operates the Fekola gold mine in Mali, West Africa. Suntrace GmbH with its partner BayWa r.e. had completed a preliminary study earlier this year evaluating the technical and economic viability of adding the solar battery plant to the Fekola mine site.
Following the study results, B2Gold has approved the US$ 38million project for implementation in 2019-2020, which will be one of the world's largest off-grid solar battery hybrid systems. Construction shall start end of 2019 and is scheduled for completion in August 2020.
Suntrace together with its partner BayWa r.e. were selected to support B2Gold during implemention of the project as solar experts, providing all relevant technical expertise, such as detailed engineering, procurement support and support during construction and commissioning until completion of the project.
“It is a strong commitment by B2Gold to build such a significant solar-battery plant as a fuel saver for the Fekola mine. This project is a landmark in terms of battery and PV plant size with respect to an off-grid project. We are very proud that B2Gold has entrusted Suntrace/BayWa r.e. as expert to support the implementation of this innovative project,” says Martin Schlecht, COO of Suntrace.
“This is a great achievement for B2Gold and their move towards sustainable production. The fuel savings will enable repayment on the investment as well as lower energy costs and cut carbon emissions”, says Tobias Kriete, regional Manager Africa at BayWa r.e. Solar Projects GmbH. “The realization of this innovative system highlights the hybrid expertise of Suntrace and BayWa r.e.”, adds Philipp Kunze, Head of BayWa r.e. Solar Projects’s Global Hybrid Team.
The PV-battery system will be integrated with the existing Power Plant to ensure safe and reliable operation of the hybrid and allow fuel savings of 13.1 million liters HFO per year. The solar battery system will significantly cut total energy costs and CO2 emissions. Electricity for the mining site is currently been generated exclusively by means of HFO (heavy fuel oil) and diesel generators. The addition of the 30 MW net capacity solar battery plant will allow the mine to shut-off up to three HFO engines during daylight time, with the 13.5 MWh battery storage providing the buffer for the irradiation fluctuations.
Suntrace together with its partner BayWa r.e., will implement the project together with B2Gold until operation, and will thus make a significant contribution to sustainable power generation for mines in West Africa.
Suntrace GmbH, established in 2009, is an independent expert for solar energy and storage projects, developing innovative energy solutions for its clients covering all major technologies from photovoltaics to solar thermal power and energy storage, finding the most economical solution. Suntrace is actively supporting the energy transition in established and emerging economies. Suntrace customers are from industry, finance and institutions and the track record covers more than 100 projects in over 40 countries, totaling about 7 GW of capacity. Since 2019, Suntrace has become an independently operating member of the Dornier Group; Dornier Group offers comprehensive infrastructure engineering services for the energy, water, mobility and aviation sectors.