The Drop in Solar Module Prices Drives the Boom of Off-Grid Renewable Projects


Zenith Energy Completes 16.9 MW Off-Grid Solar Plant with 5B Maverick Prefabricated Panels at Australian Gold Mine Dump

Australian company 5B has announced that Zenith Energy has completed a 16.9 MW deployment of its prefabricated solar panel technology, the 5B Maverick, at a waste rock dump at Northern Star Resources’ Jundee Gold Mine in Western Australia.

The project, involving 342 units of 5B Maverick, is part of a wind, solar, and battery modernization initiative led by Zenith Energy. The commissioning of the facility has already begun, which will soon allow for the integration of the new clean energy generation plant with the existing gas plant.

The deployment of 5B’s low-penetration technology at the Jundee dump continues the trend of repurposing waste facilities and idle lands for productive solar energy generation.

Gerard Major, Group Manager of Capital Projects at Northern Star Resources, stated, “The low ground penetration technology of the 5B units, their small footprint, and high power density design have allowed us to utilize our existing waste rock dump, opening up a traditionally underutilized land resource for clean renewable energy installations.”

The sales potential of 5B has been bolstered by the drop in module prices, which have decreased drastically since January.

David Griffin, CEO of 5B, said, “The strength of our project portfolio continues to grow, especially as module prices decrease. Module prices are at historic lows. Increasingly, 5B Maverick outperforms single-axis trackers in terms of levelized cost of energy, especially when labor and land are limited, and the cost of bringing personnel, equipment, materials, and infrastructure to project sites is challenging.”

The renewable generation added to Northern Star Resources’ Jundee Gold Mine under the power purchase agreement with Zenith Energy includes 24 MW of wind power, 16.9 MWp of solar power, and 12 MW / 13.4 MWh of battery energy storage. It will provide an average of 56% of the mine’s current energy needs.