Zenith delivers solar Nova

Independence Group’s (IGO) Nova nickel-copper-cobalt mine in Western Australia will begin the new year with a lower emissions footprint thanks to a newly built solar photovoltaic (PV) and diesel hybrid power plant on site
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Zenith solar powers IGO's Nova operation in WA

The plant was built and is now owned and operated by Zenith Energy subsidiary Zenith Pacific; officials for the company said since its commissioning it had already been exceeding performance targets for both energy efficiency and power output.

The system combines the PV unit with diesel power, and so far the hybrid set-up has offered Nova a diesel consumption savings of about 6,500 litres daily.

Zenith Energy managing director Hamish Moffat added that it had been able to manage energy production fluctuations for a smoother and more reliable delivery of power.

The combined 26.6-megawatt system has within it 5.5MW of new PV modules, along with single-axis tracking, inverters and communications and control system technology; on the other side are the high‐efficiency, diesel‐fuelled generators.

"Batteries have their place in energy systems, but they are still expensive to deploy for these applications. Our unique, locally developed hybrid system eliminates the need for batteries and represents a major step forward in the capital cost optimisation, operating efficiency and environmental performance of solar PV hybrid energy systems in remote locations."

Zenith said Nova's facility is the first to be funded on a commercial, standalone basis, without any government assistance.

IGO CEO Matt Dusci said it was targeting a reduction of its CO2 equivalent emissions by approximately 6,500 tonnes per year with the new plant.

Zenith will supply power for an initial six-year period, with an option for IGO to extend for a further two years.

Nova is located 360 kilometres southeast of Kalgoorlie in the Fraser Range.