Bushveld Minerals Limited (LON:BMN) told investors it is delighted with the progress of a solar power and energy storage project at the Vametco mine site in South Africa.
The ‘mini-grid’ project will comprise around 3.5 megawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation and 4 megawatts hours of vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) energy storage.
It will boost energy security for the mining operation and also demonstrate the utility of vanadium-based energy storage solutions for industrial settings.
Bushveld said the project will demonstrate the superior technical merits of long duration VRFB systems when paired with renewable energy, while providing a commercial return.
The mini-grid will supply around 10% of Vametco's electrical energy consumption at any one time.
The company has so far secured government approval for the project, has selected its technologies providers and suppliers, and has inked a memorandum of understanding with a South African investment group which will be strategic and funding partner for the project.
A power purchase agreement was previously signed for the project along, separately, with a term-sheet for long-term debt funding.
"I am delighted with the progress of the Vametco mini-grid project,” said Fortune Mojapelo, Bushveld chief executive in a statement. “In showcasing the business case for solar plus long duration VRFB solutions, this project will open up significant opportunities for further VRFB deployments.”
Mojapelo added: “Most importantly, we are building a large-scale solar project with a vanadium-based battery, to store the generated electricity. The vanadium comes from our mine and the battery, comes from Enerox, one of our VRFB manufacturing investments.
“The project has already attracted both debt and equity funding interest from reputable funding institutions which demonstrates the economics of such solar and VRFB mini-grids, even when compared to grid tariffs.”