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Sydney Zoo has reached a milestone in its partnership with EnergyAustralia, designed to help the zoo transition to renewable energy.

Installation is complete on 602 solar panels across eight buildings at the 41 acre zoo, estimated to negate more than 200t of CO₂ associated with the zoo’s electricity consumption in the first year alone while meeting the complex energy needs of its 4,000 resident animals.

Sydney Zoo Chief Commercial Officer, Chris Rivett, said, “Caring for exotic and native animals does require a lot of energy. This is why these solar panels are a step in the right direction, towards more responsible energy management here at the zoo.”

EnergyAustralia said that the panels are estimated to generate up to half of the zoo’s peak electricity needs on a sunny summer’s day, marking a milestone in the reduction of its carbon emissions while providing care to its animals.

The animals are none the wiser. Elephant brothers Kavi and Ashoka can swim and splash all day long in their elephant pool, now partially powered by the sun.

“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, keeping them engaged and content. Not to forget about the one million-litre shark tank in the zoo’s aquarium, creating a healthy and stable environment for its inhabitants,” says Chris.

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

“We have seen first-hand 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 4,000 in the CBD or a capybara habitat, and in doing so drive the energy transition along further.”

The partnership also includes school programs and educational initiatives, with EnergyAustralia and Sydney Zoo sharing a vision for educating future leaders on renewable energy solutions like solar. 

Through this initiative, the estimated 80,000 students who visit Sydney Zoo annually will gain a deeper understanding of renewable energy’s importance and its role in protecting the planet.

Assistant Editor, Utility magazine

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