Imerys is partnering with TotalEnergies to install a 15-MW solar system paired with a 7.5-MWh energy storage system at Imerys’s Lompoc facility in Santa Barbara County, California. TotalEnergies will install, maintain and operate the system under a 25-year power purchase and storage services agreement (PPSSA).
This collaboration is part of Imerys’ decarbonization roadmap in line with its commitment to align with the 1.5°C trajectory. Imerys targets to reduce its CO2 emissions by 42% in absolute terms by 2030.
The Lompoc industrial site began its diatomite mining and processing operations in the 1890s. The new renewable power installation will cover 50% of the current electrical energy demand of the site.
“This project highlights Imerys’s approach to reducing CO2 emissions and enabling us to produce clean, smart energy across our plants in the Americas. This is a pivotal step to combat climate change and to manage the energy we buy in the region as we continue to invest and develop low-carbon products for our customers as well as extract and transform minerals responsibly and sustainably,” commented Imerys Vice President Performance Minerals Americas Jim Murberger.
The TotalEnergies Distributed Generation USA team first engaged with Imerys to evaluate which of the company’s U.S. facilities offered the greatest viability for solar. Under the PPSSA agreement, TotalEnergies will finance, install and operate the Lompoc facility’s solar + storage system.
“We remain committed to helping Imerys achieve its sustainability goals with projects around the world, now with a focus on their U.S. operations,” said Managing Director of TotalEnergies Distributed Generation USA Eric Potts. “TotalEnergies is proud to be one of Imerys’ energy transition partners, and we applaud the company for investing in solar power and energy storage to reduce its environmental impact.”
The solar-plus-storage system, which is expected to be fully operational in three years, features a single-axis tracker solar PV system with bifacial modules.
News item from TotalEnergies
In Australia, the solar PV powered mining operation has been a thing since about 2014. Now it has grown over Continental boundaries and it seems like many companies are looking at solar PV and smart ESS micro-grids as a way to power the operations (most) of the time. Rio Tinto was a breakout of solar PV and ESS in Australia, this project at Imerys could well start a trend in the U.S.. Not just for mining but for recycling, commercial and small industrial complexes. With every move away from relying on the electric utility and installation of one’s own energy generation system, you have just removed the middle-man in the energy stream and have saved yourself money in the long run.