Sydney Zoo makes the switch to solar

Wednesday, 03 April, 2024

Sydney Zoo makes the switch to solar

In partnership with EnergyAustralia, Sydney Zoo in Eastern Creek has transitioned to solar power for a substantial portion of its energy needs.

The move follows that of another zoo in Sydney — Taronga — which made the switch to 100% renewables in mid-2023.

Sydney Zoo will install 602 solar panels across eight buildings over its 41 acres. It is estimated that this will prevent over 200 tonnes of CO2 associated with the zoo’s electricity consumption in the first year alone1, while meeting the complex energy needs of its 4000 resident animals.

“Caring for exotic and native animals does require a lot of energy,” said Chris Rivett, Chief Commercial Officer at Sydney Zoo.

“This is why these solar panels are a step in the right direction, towards more responsible energy management here at the zoo.”

EnergyAustralia estimates that the panels will generate up to half of the zoo’s peak electricity needs on a sunny summer’s day.

Along with partially powering the elephant pool, solar energy also drives innovative auto feeders for the zoo’s mob of meerkats and otter couple Saigon and Intan, delivering surprise treats that stimulate natural behaviours, Rivett said.

“Not to forget about the 1 million litre shark tank in the zoo’s aquarium, creating a healthy and stable environment for its inhabitants,” he added.

Mark Brownfield, Chief Customer Officer, EnergyAustralia, said the two-year partnership’s central aim is to demonstrate how businesses can play a direct role in the shift to renewables.

“We have seen firsthand how many homes and businesses are making the transition and becoming their own renewable power stations, by adopting solar and battery solutions. Businesses can change the way they power their operations, whether it be an office of 4000 in the CBD or a capybara habitat, and in doing so drive the energy transition along further,” Brownfield said.

The partnership also includes school programs and educational initiatives, demonstrating EnergyAustralia and Sydney Zoo’s shared vision for educating future leaders on renewable energy solutions like solar.

The initiative aims to give the estimated 80,000 students who visit Sydney Zoo annually a deeper understanding of renewable energy’s importance and its role in protecting the planet.

1. Based on EnergyAustralia’s performance guarantee to Sydney Zoo on generation, and on Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW): ‘Australia’s emissions projections 2023’.

Image caption: African lion at Sydney Zoo, Eastern Creek. Image credit: Yu

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