Perth Zoo now boasts the city’s largest solar panel installation.
The 237kW system will provide approximately 33% of Perth Zoo’s currently electricity requirements and save the zoo over $100,000 a year.
Environment Minister Bill Marmion said the installation was the second and final stage of the $2.7 million Perth Zoo solar project, an initiative funded by the State and Federal governments.
452 solar panels have been added to the existing first stage of the project; bringing the number of solar modules installed to 755. The new installation is in the form of a solar pergola busport that runs along the northern perimeter road of the zoo.
Part of the Perth Solar City program, Perth Zoo was chosen as one of five landmark sites to showcase major solar installations – and it will get plenty of attention with more than 610,000 people visiting the zoo each year.
According to the Zoo’s 2010/11 Annual Report, it has also been chosen to showcase an innovative, environmentally sustainable water management system; which will include the replacement of old water infrastructure and the development of water capture, storage, filtration, re-use and reticulation systems to support the Zoo’s water needs into the future.
Perth Zoo is home to around 1100 animals, representing 190 species. It says its “modern exhibits emphasise and encourage natural animal behaviours.”
Perth experiences around 300 sunny days a year and according to a fact file accompanying a related media release from the Minister’s office, a typical 1.5kW solar panel array in Perth installed in a residential setting avoids around three tonnes of carbon emissions per year; nearly the same amount produced by driving a car 40,000km.
Solar provider Energy Matters states a 1.52kW entry level solar panel system can reduce a Perth household’s electricity bill by around $564 annually.