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Solar power for mining

The client’s challenge

In response to the escalating demand for sustainable energy solutions and strategic objectives to reduce dependency on the electricity grid and enhance overall energy efficiency of operations, an Australian mining business was considering the establishment of a solar farm adjacent to their existing mine.

The client required detailed information on the viability of the project and to understand the factors influencing planning and development decisions.

The role of Advitech

Advitech was engaged to conduct a comprehensive pre-feasibility study of establishing a solar farm associated with a mining operation. Advitech conducted an in-depth analysis, covering the technical, economic, and environmental opportunities and risks associated with the proposed solar farm project.

Our approach

Advitech’s initial steps in the pre-feasibility study involved an extensive literature review to identify the latest technologies in the solar energy sector. Subsequently, Advitech conducted a thorough evaluation of the technical and economic feasibility of these systems, along with an assessment of potential safety risks and hazards associated with their implementation. Advitech’s risk analysis took a particular focus on the unique risks and challenges of establishing and operating a solar farm associated with a mining operation.

The next phase of the study was a high-level evaluation of various potential sites for the solar farm. The assessment involved ranking the sites based on key criteria, including proximity to the mine’s substation, the land’s topographic suitability for solar infrastructure, economics of installation, and the potential environmental impacts from both the construction and operation of the solar farm.

Following the selection of the most suitable location, Advitech delineated possible transmission line routes connecting the solar farm to the mine’s substation. To provide a visual representation, indicative general arrangement drawings were produced, outlining the available solar capacity and proposed transmission line routes for the site.

Advitech then conducted modelling to determine the solar energy potential of the site and the required solar array capacity to meet energy demands.

In the final phase of the project, a meticulous financial analysis was undertaken, examining six distinct solar farm capacities in the MegaWatt (MW) scale. To gauge the financial performance of each system, an assessment was conducted, encompassing a review of the client’s energy rates, predictions for future energy prices, and estimations of operational and capital costs.

The findings

Advitech’s analysis of the proposed solar farm location and its solar array capacity, along with modelling of the solar energy potential and mine loads concluded that a MW-scale solar farm would be a worthwhile investment, with highly favourable internal rate of return (IRR) and net present values, and at the same time offering significant carbon reductions.

Advitech identified a variety of safety and risk issues from the solar farm project that are quite unique to the mining sector but found these could be ameliorated satisfactorily with appropriate technical and business measures.

The outcome

The client is now in a position to make an informed decision on the viability and benefits of the proposed solar energy project, based on reliable data on location, size, risks, environmental issues, and financial benefits.


If your business is interested in discussing strategies to contribute to the ongoing energy transition, give us a call and we’ll explore how we can help. Our team is ready to collaborate with you to pave the way for a more efficient and sustainable future.