MADAGASCAR: a 2.6 MW hybrid solar power plant comes on stream at the Molo mine

Canadian mining company NextSource Materials has announced the commissioning of a 2.69 MW solar power plant at the Molo mine in Madagascar. Equipped with a battery storage system, the facility is operated by CrossBoundary Energy (CBE).

The solar power plant operating at the Molo mine has 4,902 panels installed over an area of 1.3 hectares. The facility has a capacity of 2.69 MW and is connected to a 1.37 MWh battery electricity storage system, as well as a 3.1 MW diesel-powered generator. According to the Canadian mining company NextSource Materials, with the load balancing provided by the electricity storage system, the hybrid solar plant will be able to supply up to 100% of the Molo processing plant’s electricity needs during peak hours of the day.

The thermal plant supplies all base load and off-peak electricity requirements to ensure an uninterrupted power supply to the mine. “The hybrid solar plant will be able to supply up to 35% of the electricity needs of the entire Molo system from renewable energy, significantly reducing maintenance costs and carbon emissions by 2,275 tonnes a year,” says the company, which is headed by Craig Scherba.

The hybrid solar plant was financed and built by CrossBoundary Energy (CBE), which will also operate it for 20 years under a power purchase agreement (PPA) with NextSource Materials. These facilities will power the Molo graphite mine located in Atsimo-Andrefana, near the town of Fotadrevo in southern Madagascar.

The mine has already started production, as the first shipment of bulk containers of SuperFlake® graphite was recently sent from Madasgascar to a battery anode facility (BAF) of NextSource’s technical partner for processing into spheronised and purified graphite (SPG). This material will then be transformed into coated SPG (CSPG) as part of large-scale, multi-stage verification tests carried out by players in the electric vehicle supply chain in South Korea and Japan.