The March edition of our “Top 5 Hybrid Energy News” presents the world’s biggest hybrid-PV power plant to be built in West Africa. It features Iamgold, EREN, Wärtsilä, Rancho Santana resort, PELICAN, S.A, ViZn Energy Systems, Villa Halcyon, Victron Energy, PhilSolar, Jinko, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, Flexenclosure, and HANZA. Our Top 5 cover the mining, hospitality, telecom and rural electrification sectors and projects in Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, the Philippines, and Canada. We could again manage to add exclusive statements from industry leaders.
World’s Biggest Hybrid-Solar Power Plant to be Built at Gold Mine in Burkina Faso
Iamgold, EREN and Wärtsilä have announced to build a 15MWp solar plant at Iamgold’s 400000 oz off-grid Essakane mine. EREN will be the majority owner of the PV plant and has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Iamgold. The solar PV plant will be added to a 55MW Wärtsilä power plant currently running on heavy fuel oil. The PV plant will enable the mine to decrease its fuel consumption by about six-million liters a year and will reduce Essakane’s yearly carbon dioxide emissions by 18 500 t. Wärtsilä's scope covers the EPC for the solar PV power plant including the control system for the hybrid plant. Commissioning is planned for late 2017. The plant will be also the world’s biggest renewable energy asset at an off-grid mine and might trigger many more solar projects in the mining industry. “Our familiarity with the mining sector and our expertise in both, solar and diesel technologies, have been two determining factors to overcome the technical hurdles of hybrid projects and to structure a deal that is improving the mine’s business without interfering with its core activities”, says Christophe Fleurence, EREN’s Vice President - Business Development Africa.
Solar-plus-storage Microgrid Powers Nicaraguan Resort Rancho Santana
Rancho Santana resort and residential community on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua is turning to solar and energy storage to alleviate the high cost of peak energy in the region. The plant will consist of a 200kW/800kWh flow battery from ViZn and an 800kWp PV array. Lâl Marandin, principal and co-founder of the EPC PELICAN, S.A., explains, “Nicaragua has a very fast growing touristic sector with several new landmark projects. Renewable energy solutions with battery storage make sense for sustainable branding purposes, and because electricity tariffs for the hotel sector are high. Driven by 5-6-year payback periods, 10 to 20 solar projects between 500kWp and 1MWp could become reality in the coming years.” Ron Van Dell, CEO of ViZn Energy Systems adds, “The Rancho Santana project in Nicaragua is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential for highly versatile energy storage assets at remote locations like resorts, mining facilities, islands, etc. Whether they are grid-tied or a part of true microgrids, storage systems will provide the most functionality and ROI when they are capable of providing both energy and power services and this ability is what makes our zinc-redox flow batteries such an attractive option.”
Philippine Resort Villa Halcyon Reduces Diesel Consumption with Solar PV
Villa Halcyon is situated on Boquete Island, one of the many islands of the Philippines. The island resort used to generate its power fully by diesel gensets with a daily consumption of 120 liters that was delivered by sea. PhilSolar and a local design and installation specialist have added a 7kWp PV installation with a Victron Energy inverter/charger combinations and Jinko modules as well as a lithium-ion battery. “Adding solar plants to generators will reduce the system’s operating costs drastically. It also gives silent power with less pollution and a pleasant ‘green’ environment for resort guests: A win-win situation for guests, resort owners and neighbors,” adds Matthijs Vader, CEO of Victron Energy.
First Nations Above the Arctic Circle Turn to Solar
Across Northern Canada, diesel has long been the primary mode of providing electricity to remote communities. With the advent of small-scale renewables, that might change. The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation town, Old Crow, has several small-scale solar PV installations, including an 11.8kW plant at the Arctic Research Centre. In addition, there are plans for a 330kW solar plant which could offset 17% of the community's total diesel use, or up to 98,000 liters of fuel each year.
Flexenclosure and HANZA Partner for Hybrid Solution Targeting the Telecom Sector
A strong pull for solar from remote telecom applications is the reason why Flexenclosure has decided to join forces with HANZA. The Swedish industrial manufacturing expert HANZA will supply key electrical parts for its recently launched hybrid power system that is designed for outdoor telecom sites and to outdoor telecom standards.
Tomas Rahkonen, Flexenclosure’s Chief Technology Officer adds, “Solar-diesel hybrid power systems are essential to bringing affordable and reliable mobile internet to off-grid areas in developing nations - a large and rapidly growing market. Flexenclosure’s eSite x10 has been specifically engineered to address this opportunity, minimizing OPEX (diesel- and battery-related costs) while at the same time ensuring site uptime for outdoor telecom sites.”
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