BHP-Billiton Nickel West Leinster Solar Rooftops Project

Description of project Total: 300kWp decentralised Rooftop micro-Solar Power plant
Client BHP Billiton Nickel Division
Location Leinster, Northern Goldfields, Western Australia
Description of technology utilised 195 1.5kWp solar units utilising Solar Frontier CIS thin film technology and SMA inverter plant, with full web-based remote power system monitoring
Value Total project CapEx $1.5m
Year Completed 2011


In October of 2009, BHP-Billiton Nickel Division chose Commsolar to construct BHP-Billiton’s first Solar PV project of scale, rated at 300kWp, and located in the township of Leinster, WA. Located in the northern goldfields of WA, 870km North East of Perth, the township of Leinster supports the local Nickel mining operation owned by BHP Billiton.

The local town management tendered for the development of a rooftop solar PV project, to augment all buildings in the town with Solar PV micro power systems. Commsolar was selected as the preferred contractor due to its demonstrated project and value management and technical expertise in the delivery of remote-site PV system solutions.

After shading of multiple rooftops was identified as a project risk, the Commsolar team developed and executed a mitigation plan that accurately measured shade impact of affected sites, and recommended the use of high efficiency thin film technology, with the client ultimately selecting cutting edge Copper-Indium-deSelenide (CIS) modules produce by Solar Frontier, the world’s second largest thin film PV module manufacturer. Commsolar provided further innovation by developing a project-specific framing solution that reduced installation time.

This project has allowed Commsolar to demonstrate its capabilities to develop and execute to detailed project management planning for remote site work, and ability to deploy on short notice and to firm time constraints, using technologies that are proven, reliable and bankable.


BHP Billiton, Nickel Division