Evaluation of PV and CSP systems to supply power in the Zimbabwe mining sector

Maronga, Anesu and Nyoni, Kumbuso Joshua and Tuohy, Paul Gerald and Shane, Agabu (2021) Evaluation of PV and CSP systems to supply power in the Zimbabwe mining sector. Energies, 14 (13). 3740. ISSN 1996-1073 (https://doi.org/10.3390/en14133740)

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The drought that occurred in Zimbabwe in 2020 affected the country’s main hydro-power station causing the electricity supply to be less secure and reliable. This challenge resulted in load-shedding, which is not desirable to mining companies that require constant and reliable power for their operations. In that regard, a techno-economic analysis was carried out to assess the potential of integrating concentrated solar power (+thermal storage) and photovoltaics (+battery storage) to supply power at a typical mine in Zimbabwe. Two scenarios were simulated—a base case with no exports to the grid and another case where exports were allowed. The models were evaluated based on the generated renewable energy offsetting the demand from the mine, the energy exported, the grid contribution, the localised cost of energy and the net present value. The results show that the addition of a battery storage system to PV improves the percentage of the load offset by the renewable system and the generated energy by the renewable system by almost double. However, the installation cost, required land, LCOE, and simple pay-back also increased by approximately a factor of 2. The addition of a thermal storage system to CSP increased the generated energy, the capacity factor, and the renewable energy contribution by approximately a factor of 2. However, the land required for development and the installation costs also nearly doubled.