Zenith, 5B break barriers for mine site solar


Zenith Energy and 5B have signed an ecosystem framework agreement for the deployment of renewable energy assets in Australia, giving mine sites greater access to solar power.

Sydney-based 5B is a clean technology company which developed its 5B Maverick solar technology to be prefabricated, modular, scalable and rapidly deployable.

One of Australia’s largest independent power producers, Zenith Energy managing director Hamish Moffat said this combination of companies would be a game-changer for mines with shorter lifespans.

“We’ve been looking to increase renewable assets across multiple sites for some time, the question has always been around how we can achieve that in such a way that is economically viable,” he said.

“The 5B Maverick system is re-deployable, meaning it can be integrated on mines with shorter tenure, and moved at the end of operations at those sites.

“It offers Zenith greater ability to leverage value from our initial capital expenditure, making it more cost effective to offer expanded renewable energy solutions for our clients.”

Fast deployment has been a major barrier for solar power on global mine sites, according to 5B co-founder and chief executive officer Chris McGrath.

“The agreement also shows that our cost reduction efforts over the past two years have worked – we’ve hit the price point where 5B Mavericks can be viably packed up, and redeployed elsewhere, substantially reducing the risk of stranded assets in mining, agricultural and industrial operations,” McGrath said.

The 5B Maverick system is set to be integrated into three new and existing mine sites in Western Australia.

These include IGO’s Nova nickel mine, Calidus Resources’ Warrawoona gold mine, and Red 5’s King of the Hills gold mine.

Nova will play host to Zenith’s industry first ‘engine-off’ project, where the site will operate for nine consecutive hours on renewable energy through the installation of an extra 10 megawatt (MW) of solar, and a 10MW battery energy storage system (BESS).

Zenith committed to supply, install and commission a 4MW solar farm at Warrawoona using 5B Maverick, as well as a 3MW BESS.

And installation is underway for a 2MW 5B Maverick system at KOTH, also supported by its own BESS.

Moffat was keen to progress 5B’s net-zero targets with a nationally recognised company such as Zenith.

“We’re keen to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with like-minded companies, and Zenith definitely fits the bill,” he said.

“It is great to see Zenith leveraging the ability of the 5B Maverick solar arrays to deploy up to 10 times faster, more safely than single axis tracker and fixed tilt solar systems, to deliver a full solution for their customers.”

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