5B’s modular solar tech part of Zenith’s power solution for WA lithium mine

Clean technology innovation company 5B has been appointed as the solar technology provider for a 16 MWp solar system that will form part of a 95 MW hybrid power station that Zenith Energy is constructing on a build, own, operate basis for Liontown Resources’ Kathleen Valley Lithium Project in Western Australia. It is expected to become the largest off-grid renewable energy hybrid power station in Australia.

5B was an integral part of the Zenith Energy bid and was awarded the contract based on the rapid rollout and safety advantages of its system. Zenith Energy’s Managing Director and CEO Hamish Moffat said: “5B has demonstrated that it has the potential to get the Kathleen Valley site to full solar PV generation capacity three months ahead of conventional single access tracker solutions with the potential to save more than 60% of the man hours required on site. This is creating a faster pathway to market for solar PV renewable energy generation assets.”

5B’s Deputy CEO Nicole Kuepper-Russell said: “It is great to see a green field mining operation incorporating renewable energy from the outset. We are incredibly fortunate to have Zenith Energy as an integration partner who is leveraging the prefabrication and rapid deployment of our solar technology to help mining companies and heavy industry transition to clean energy.”

Zenith Energy will begin deploying the 342 5B Maverick array systems in June 2023. When complete, the solar farm will occupy a land area equivalent to 17 NRL football fields [one NRL field is about 68 m by 100 m] and generate enough to power 4,000 homes. B MaverickTM is an Australian-designed ground mount solar solution designed to be safer, more cost effective and faster to deploy for offgrid, commercial and industrial, and large-scale solar power generation, compared to traditional single axis solar trackers or comparable solar racking solutions. Robust and redeployable, each 5B Maverick array consists of up to 90 solar panels, mounted on specially designed racks, and optimised for the workhorse 540-550W module class of the utility scale solar industry. 5B Maverick is described as “a fully prefabricated, plug & play solar farm in a box.”

Kathleen Valley Lithium Project is a Tier-1 battery metals asset located 680 km north-east of Perth in Western Australia. First product is planned for mid-2024 and, on start-up, the project will operate on 60% renewable power supply generated through wind and solar coupled to a battery storage system.