May 10 (Renewables Now) – African-focused gold producer Pan African Resources Plc (LON:PAF) has powered up a 10-MW photovoltaic (PV) plant at Evander Gold Mines in South Africa, it said today.
The solar park is expected to supply 30% of the power needs of the company’s Elikhulu surface retreatment operations, “materially” lowering electricity costs. At current electricity tariffs the ZAR-150-million (USD 9.3m/EUR 8.8m) project will achieve payback in less than five years, the firm calculates.
According to the announcement, this is the first solar plant of that capacity to be brought online by a miner in the country.
“In addition to CO2 emission reductions, the PV plant has the added benefits of providing a secure and stable power supply, while at the same time ensuring we manage future cost pressures resulting from above-inflation electricity tariffs,” said chief executive Cobus Loots.
The company expects to have 30 MW of solar capacity in operation by 2024. A12-MW expansion is being considered to power Evander underground organic growth projects and a 8-MW PV plant is set to be built at Barberton Mines, while battery solutions are also being examined.
The Evander solar plant is estimated to contribute to a 5% cut in the group’s emissions.
The facility uses single axis trackers and 26,640 Suntech bi-facial polycrystalline modules, as well as 50 Sungrow string inverters. The contract for the project was awarded to Germany’s juwi.
(ZAR 1 = USD 0.062/EUR 0.059)