Perth Zoo installed 303 solar panels in March, giving them the capacity to generate 120,000kWh of energy each year.
At a cost of $2.7 million, the 90.9kW system marks the completion of the first stage, of a two-stage process, of Perth Zoo’s partnership with the Solar Cities program.
Stage two, which is near completion, will serve two roles role by providing a shaded drop off point for visitors and generating power. On completion of the second stage Perth Zoo will meet 30 per cent of its electricity needs.
This level of power generation is so great that the zoo will be required to register as an official power plant.
The project spans the rooftops of eight buildings, including the elephant barn and reptile encounter enclosure, making it the largest solar site in Perth.
The Solar Cities Program is a partnership between all levels of government, industry, business and local communities with the aim of trialing sustainable energy.
Solar Cities aims to change the way Australians view and use energy by gathering data to inform future policies.
At the Speaking Sustainability forum, March 15, Perth Zoo Commercial Development Director Carol Shannon said that since the completion of the first stage the zoo has saved $35,000.