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SolarCentury Africa Closes Financing for Solar PV Plant at Balama Mine in Mozambique

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Renewable energy provider Solarcentury Africa has announced that it has reached the financial close on a solar photovoltaic facility at the Balama graphite mine in Mozambique. Located in Northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, the mine is operated by an Australian-based mining company, Syrah Resources.

The solar PV plant will be combined with a battery energy storage system to power the mining facilities of Syrah Resources. The project involves the construction of an 11.25 MWp solar power plant, along with an 8.5 MWh storage system. The solar facility will be combined with the thermal power plant that has been powering the Balama mine.

Solarcentury Africa has arranged and structured the funding for hybrid solar power systems, but the amount of funding is not yet disclosed. The funding is being provided by CrossBoundary Energy (CBE), a pan African investment firm that is well known for financing solar energy projects.

Syrah and Solarcentury have obtained all necessary licenses to commence construction of the solar power system. Solarcentury will set up a special purpose vehicle to implement its project. The plant is expected to be fully operational by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

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Solarcentury will build, own, and operate the solar PV plant for a period of 10 years, under an agreement with Syrah Resources. After this duration, the ownership will be transferred to Syrah.

The solar project will allow Syrah Resources to reduce the carbon footprint of the Balama mine, as well as reduce its electricity bills. Syrah Resources estimates that the power system will reduce the use of diesel in its mining operations by 35%.

Shaun Verner, MD and CEO of Syrah Resources, said, “The installation of a large-scale solar and battery hybrid power system is expected to reduce operating costs at Balama and further strengthen the environmental and social governance credentials of Balama’s natural graphite products.”

Jason De Carteret, Solarcentury Africa’s MD, commented “Solarcentury Africa and Syrah have today attained an important milestone reaffirming their commitment to helping decarbonize the extractive industry. We are immensely proud of our engineering team who have succeeded in securing this sector-leading renewable energy penetration rate of 35% that will vastly reduce Syrah’s carbon emissions.”

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