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First Ever Off-grid Diesel Hybrid PV Plant

Solea Renewables (Pty) Limited Commissions First Ever Off-grid Diesel Hybrid PV Plant for South African Mining Company

Johannesburg, South Africa - Solea Renewables completed and commissioned the world’s first 1MW ground mounted diesel/photovoltaic hybrid electric power plant for industrial mining applications.

The decentralized 1MWDC hybrid PV system was planned and installed for Cronimet Energy South Africa (Pty) Limited to fuel Cronimet Mining’s chromium ore operations.


The innovative and environmentally responsible renewable energy solution will allow the mining company to power their daytime operations with a decentralized grid-independent power supply. The 1 MW PV plant will deliver approximately 1.8 GWh of electricity per year, allowing the mining company to materially reduce its daytime diesel consumption and capitalize on a natural long-term hedge against rising diesel costs.


Solea Renewables decentralized 1MWDC hybrid PV system Image: ©Solea Capital GmbH



The fully integrated PV plant was constructed on Solea’s Renewables’ galvanized steel and aluminum fixed-tilt racking system mounted to its proprietary helical steel screw foundation. The racking system was planned with 63 tables, each with 66 panels mounted in three vertically mounted PV Panel rows angled at 25° north. The total height of the three panel rows is less than three meters. A total of 4,170 JinkoSolar JKM240P-60 polycrystalline PV panels were installed and 63 three-phase decentralized SMA 17000TL inverters were installed, each with a nominal AC power rating of 17kVA.

The PV system was designed around the mine’s existing primary diesel “island mode” power infrastructure and synchronized to the two existing 800kVa diesel gensets by using SMA’s Fuel Save Controller software. The software monitors and regulates the diesel gensets’ output in a real-time and consistent relationship with the PV plant’s output. The software computes the maximum amount of PV power that the island mode system can safely consume to ensure stability of the supply and the most effective use of renewable PV power.


Solea AG’s CEO, Anton Schweiger commented: The realization of our first grid-independent utility scale hybrid PV plant was a successful market entry for the Solea group. Southern Africa is a key growth market for Solea and our diesel hybrid PV systems are ready to roll out.

Rollie Armstrong, Director of Solea Capital GmbH adds: Hybrid PV systems provide mining operators in remote locations with low or no existing infrastructure with a reliable 20 to 30-year power source alternative to electrifying daytime mining operations with only diesel gensets.

Solea Renewables (Pty) Limited (Solea Renewables) is a South African photovoltaic (PV) engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor. Solea Renewables is based in Johannesburg and is a subsidiary of SOLEA AG, a top ten German photovoltaic EPC. Solea Renewables’ mission is to become the leading photovoltaic EPC in Southern Africa by delivering its mining, manufacturing, industrial and commercial sector clientele with the highest quality and economically responsible turnkey utility scale PV power plants.



Company Contact:

Solea Renewables (Pty) Limited
Johannesburg, South Africa
Phone: +27 11783 7818
Vusi Mhlanzi


German Office
Solea Capital GmbH
Phone: +49 89 919 290 170


Press Service
PR-Agency Solar Consulting GmbH
79110 Freiburg, Germany
Tel. +49 761 380968-26
Sabine Lübke


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