Taronga Western Plains Zoo has installed a significant solar panel system on the roof of the Savannah Visitor Plaza this month, to help reduce its energy consumption.
The solar panel system spans 456.67m² and will save 125,250kWh annually. This system is the first aspect of the Zoo’s plan to increase renewable energy on site by 2020.
“The Zoo is committed to continuing to reduce its carbon footprint, with the installation of solar panels in the Savannah Visitor Plaza now complete,” said Manager of Assets and Maintenance, Kathleen Oke.
The total investment in the solar panel project is $106,800, and the new system will provide savings to the Zoo for many years to come.
“The saving from this system alone is equivalent to taking 23.3 cars off the road for a year, or 426,000kms driven by a car in greenhouse gas reductions,” said Kath.
“We are striving to become more sustainable, setting ambitious targets to reduce electricity, paper consumption and water usage over the next four years as well as divert waste from landfill.”
In addition to the solar project, the Zoo has also replaced two old pumps on the Macquarie River, with two new pumps and a fully integrated control system which allows staff to control the pumps and water levels.
“The pumps supply water for the drinking, washing and swimming needs of the animals, as well as irrigation for the grounds,” said Kath.
“These new pumps will see a 10% saving in the Zoo’s electricity consumption annually.”
In addition to the pump upgrades the Zoo’s rising mains and irrigation across the site will be upgraded in the coming year. This will result in an estimated saving of approximately 30% on water usage across the site.
“The upgrade of these infrastructure aspects will play a large part in reducing the site-wide carbon footprint and ultimately ensure a more sustainable operation,” said Kath.
The projects were completed by successful tenderers Solgen Energy Group and Team Irrigation.