ABN - An established South African renewable energy company has plans to expand into the rest of sub-Saharan Africa with a specific focus on offering hybrid energy solutions to the mining industry.
Juwi South Africa is a subsidiary of the Juwi Holding AG company and has over 1GW of wind and solar projects in South Africa that are fully developed or moving into the phase of financial close.
The company is currently working on a number of significant mining projects in Africa, according to Juwi SA’s CEO Greg Austin.
“From this office, we’re currently looking at 25MW and 15MW solar hybrid projects on the continent, among other smaller projects on mines,” he said.
“It’s all well and good having a project in Australia, but people want to go and kick the tyres on a real project in Africa – so it’ll be great to have our first project at scale here.”
Juwi developed a 10.6MW solar hybrid system to fully integrate with the existing 19MW diesel-fired power station at the DeGrussa Mine in Western Australia.
The US$40 million solar project is the largest integrated off-grid solar and battery storage facility in Australia, and potentially the world, covering a total area of over 20 hectares.
“DeGrussa represents one extreme of what is possible, Austin continued. “It’s a pure off-grid mine – it’s totally reliant on diesel, solar and batteries. Even if the mine power drops off for an hour, then it’s a day to bring it back online again, so clearly the system has to work.
“In some African mines, there is a national grid that supports the mine but it’s often quite weak, so there it will be what we call a ‘behind the meter’ connection, with two clear benefits for the miner – it’s cheaper and it improves the quality of their supply.”