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Why Neon is scrapping a solar power plant with storage in Australia after seven years – pv magazine France

Why Neon is scrapping a solar power plant with storage in Australia after seven years – pv magazine France

The DeGrussa off-grid solar power plant with storage was the largest installation of its type in Australia. Solar panels are planned to be reused.

French renewable energy producer Neon has confirmed that its DeGrussa solar and battery storage plant in the heart of Western Australia's Goldfields region will be decommissioned after seven years of operation. The installation, which includes a 10.6 MW PV and 6 MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system coupled with a diesel generator, was commissioned in June 2016 at mining company Sandfire Resources' Tegusa copper mine site, 900 kilometers northeast of Perth. .

The hybrid solar power system provided almost 20% of the mine's annual electricity needs and reduced its emissions by around 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. The project received funding of 20.9 million Australian dollars (12.7 million euros). From the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and A$15 million (€9 million) in debt financing from Clean Energy Finance Corp. (CEFC).

Aerial view of power station.

Image: Sand Fire Resources

Sandfire purchased the power under an initial 5.5-year contract, which was extended as the mine moved past its original closure date of 2021. However, the mine ceased operations, ending the life of the DeGrussa solar plant and battery. In a statement sent to pv magazine, said Neon plans to remove the solar panels along with its other installations and rehabilitate the site. Tim Buckley, director of Climate Energy Finance, was not surprised by the shutdown, recalling that the end of the mine was “absolutely known” by the time the hybrid solar system was launched. “Through its capabilities, technology improvements, software integration, and all the lessons learned, Tecruzza has played a key role in learning with storage through solar.”

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Likewise, NEON is exploring the possibility of repurposing the 34,080 solar panels and other infrastructure installed on the 20-hectare site, as an example of its removal. “We prefer to reuse solar panels as they are in good condition,” the company said, “currently exploring the possibility of finding a second life for solar panels and other key components such as inverters, transformers and battery packs.” The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

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