In off-grid energy systems, solar energy combined with conventional energy generation and battery storage can provide secure power during day and night.
B2Gold operates the Fekola gold mine in Mali, West Africa. Suntrace with its partner BayWa had completed a preliminary study earlier this year evaluating the technical and economic viability of adding the solar battery plant to the Fekola site.
Following the study, B2Gold has approved the US$ 38 million 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.
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.