Perth Zoo is now home to the largest solar panel array in WA, boasting 755 solar panels in the form of a solar pergola busport running along the northern perimeter road of the zoo. The 237kW system will provide approximately 33% of Perth Zoo’s currently electricity requirements and save the zoo over $100,000 a year.
Perth Zoo is part of the Perth Solar City program. Along with five other landmark sites it was chosen to showcase major sustainable energy options – and the zoo’s solar installation will be the largest of the five. The zoo has also reduced its environmental footprint in other ways. Compared with 2010/11 it has:
- Reduced natural gas use by over 50% since 2005/06
- Reduced electricity use by 5.9% since 2005/06
- Constructed an ecologically sustainable ablution facility (‘eco toilet’)
- Reduced scheme water use by 47% since 1997/98
- Reduced ground water use by 30% since 1997/98
- Commenced an $11.9m Integrated Water Management Project over the next five years that will see the replacement of ageing water infrastructure and further improvements in water efficiency. The largest capital project ever undertaken by Perth Zoo.
- Recycle plastics, paper, cardboard, aluminium cans, batteries, scrap metal, green waste and soil.
- Where possible [we] source raw materials sustainably. An example of this is the boardwalk in the Australian Wetlands – all timber is 100% recycled. Source: Perth Zoo
With around 300 sunny days a year in Perth, we can be sure the new installation will be in good use and saving the planet in no time.
Australia’s other Solar Cities are Adelaide, Alice Springs, Blacktown, Central Victoria, Moreland and Townsville. I particularly like how Adelaide incorporated solar energy in the city to create the world’s first solar powered public bus, Tindo. Well done to the Australian government, its people, businesses and officials, in making a real difference with these initiatives. I can’t wait to own my own home so that I can be more energy efficient too.
Read more on Perth Zoo’s remarkable accomplishment at Science Network WA.
Oh and by the way, the world’s largest solar energy generating system is in California. The SEGS in the Mojave desert consists of nine solar power plants, with a 354 MW installed capacity.