Solar panels have been around since 1839, when Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect by generating electricity from sunlight. Over a century later, researchers understood what this meant on an atomic level and discovered a way to create a device that could convert solar power to electric power. Because of the need to reduce emissions, mineral processing would benefit from beginning to rely on solar energy. Solar is not only sustainable, but it also does not contribute to environmental risks and is abundant.

The sun’s radiation converts into solar energy and used to generate concentrated solar power (CSP) or photovoltaic power (PV). Solar farms comprise many solar panels that collect solar energy and convert it into electricity. The sun generates 1,000 watts of power per square metre, which the solar panel converts to 130W per square metre. Solar energy will increase in popularity as the mining industry realises the positive effects and benefits of renewable energy on the environment and business.

The Use of Solar on Mine Sites

Mining is often carried out in harsh, remote locations with extreme temperatures. With an abundance of sunlight for most of the year, harnessing solar power can provide much-needed energy to mines. The initial costs of switching to solar are a significant challenge for mining companies. Despite cost reductions over the years, setting up in remote locations is more expensive. However, in the long run, it becomes very cost-effective for businesses. Compared to diesel generators, there is no need to transport and supply fuel regularly. Solar systems require less maintenance because of fewer moving parts and lower operating costs.

Using solar energy will improve mine site resilience. Because the reliance on dependable deliveries to maintain power has decreased. The risk of a power outage can be reduced by using a combination of solar and diesel generators. Solar can provide most of the power. While a constant supply of sunlight is required, the energy can be stored in batteries and used at night. This configuration is becoming increasingly appealing for remote sites.

Another appealing advantage of switching to solar energy is the significant reduction in carbon emissions. Because it does not rely on the extraction of fossil fuels, solar energy is a greener and more sustainable source of energy. Mining companies can reduce their CO2 emissions while meeting their climate targets. For example, reducing glasshouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 or reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Companies rely on large machinery that consumes a lot of energy to extract minerals from the ground. A solar power system is an excellent solution for shifting to green energy types in order to make mining sites more self-sufficient and reduce reliance on fuel supply.