POWER

NextSource building solar-battery power plant

The plant will be commissioned before the September quarter

The Molo graphite mine will be commissioned in the September quarter.

The Molo graphite mine will be commissioned in the September quarter.

Toronto-based graphite miner NextSource Materials is building a hybrid power plant that will be powered by solar and battery power.

The plant will service the Molo graphite mine in Madagascar.

The hybrid energy plant will include a 2.6MW solar PV energy system, a 1MWh battery storage system, and a 3.1MW thermal energy system of diesel generators.

Madagascar subsidiary of CrossBoundary Energy is building the plant. The thermal facility, solar facility, and battery-energy storage system will be installed and operational before the Molo processing plant is commissioned in the September quarter.  

The Molo mine and plant are expected to be commissioned in the September quarter. Commissioning will be followed by a three-month ramp-up period to achieve nameplate capacity.

The plant will meet 33% of Molo's energy needs; remaining power will be sourced from thermal generators, NextSource said.

In peak daylight hours the solar facility and the battery energy storage system can provide 100% of the power for the plant requirements.

"Over the life of the project, we will aim to further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels with the added benefit of lower costs and therefore better project economics," NextSource chief executive Craig Scherba said.

NextSource and CrossBoundary Energy will increase the solar contribution to the power grid, NextSource said.

NextSource reached a deal with CrossBoundary Energy to build the plant in November 2021.

Costs for the construction of Phase 1 of the Molo graphite mine have increased by approximately US$3 million, due to inflationary pressures. The Phase 1 capital cost is now US$24 million, with an additional US$3 million for working capital.

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