In what is becoming a recurring theme, renewables will power mining sites in the Pilbara.

As reported on by RenewEconomy, Alinta has confirmed plans to build a 60 megawatt solar farm near the Christmas Creek iron ore mine, owned by Fortescue Metals.

But the plan is to have multiple mines in the area connected to the solar farm through a transmission line built alongside such mines as Cloudbreak and Roy Hill.

The solar project is slated to receive funding from both the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

“Electricity generated by solar is more affordable than gas-fired or diesel-powered generation which are predominantly used in the region,” Alinta reportedly said in its application.

“A reduction in the cost of energy to large-use customers in the Pilbara region will increase the opportunities for investment in, and expansion of, resource projects, which are a significant driver of the state’s economy.”

This isn’t the first time solar has shined as a solution in the mining sector, and it won’t be the last.

Given mining projects are located in remote, and (most of the time) sun-drenched country, it makes increasing sense to have solar power be at least part of the solution for powering mine operations.

Especially as the cost, and the cost of transmission, of fossil fuels to remote sites continues to go up.

The solar farm will require around 200,000 solar modules, and a new substation.

Work on the solar farm is expected to start this month and should be complete by April, 2020.