NextSource Materials commissions 2.69MW solar/BESS/generator hybrid plant at Molo mine in Madagascar

  • NextSource Materials has completed commissioning and achieved full operations of its solar and battery hybrid power plant at Molo graphite mine in Madagascar.
  • The Solar Hybrid Plant is owned and operated by CrossBoundary Energy (CBE) under a 20-year power purchase agreement and comprises a 2.69 MWp solar photovoltaic array combined with a 1.37 MWh battery energy storage system), and a 3.1 MW diesel generator plant. 

Together with load balancing provided by the BESS, the Solar Hybrid Plant will be capable of supplying up to 100% of the Molo processing plant’s power requirements during peak daylight hours, with the thermal facility supplying all baseload and off-peak power requirements, to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the mine.

The Solar Hybrid Plant has a dedicated connection to the mine camp and all auxillary buildings ensuring maximum usage of renewable energy generated. The Solar Hybrid Plant will be able to provide up to 35% of Molo’s complete system power needs from renewable energy, significantly reducing all-in sustaining costs and carbon emissions by 2,275 tonnes annually.

NextSource Materials announces first bulk shipment of Superflake® and full operation of its solar hybrid plant at Molo Graphite Mine. Image credit: NextSource Materials

President and CEO, Craig Scherba, commented:

“Completing our first bulk shipment is a significant accomplishment and the result of the hard work and dedication of our operations team. As we continue the optimization phase of the commissioning process and towards rampup to nameplate production capacity for Phase 1 of Molo mine operations, NextSource is well positioned to play a critical role in the global, sustainable lithium-ion battery supply chain that is expected to see exponential growth over the next few decades. We are also delighted to have completed commissioning of our Solar Hybrid Plant, which will enable us to significantly reduce our carbon emissions and all-in sustaining costs. NextSource is committed to playing our role in global decarbonization.”

The Solar Hybrid Plant will generate clean power to a capacity of 4 GWh, with the current PV array designed with extra capacity such that no expansion of the PV array will be required for Molo production capacity increases of up to 32,000 tpa.

NextSource and CBE are committed to optimizing the solar component and increasing the amount of renewable energy available to the mine, which could include expansion of the Solar Farm or installation of wind turbines. In support of this, CBE has installed a wind measuring LIDAR device to evaluate the wind resource at the site and studying the feasibility of adding wind generation in the short term. As part of any potential future expansion of the Molo mine, the Company has set a goal of increasing the percentage generated by renewable power to at least 50 percent.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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