Australia Zoo goes solar, with 648kW “Crocoseum” rooftop array

A 648kW rooftop solar array has been successfully installed at Australia Zoo, the Queensland native wildlife park founded by the late “crocodile hunter,” Steve Irwin.

Commercial solar specialist GEM Energy announced the completion of the huge rooftop system – the largest on any zoo in Australia – on World Environment Day on Tuesday.


As we reported here just over a year ago, the complex job required just under 2,000 PV panels to be installed on the rooftop of the “Crocoseum” – the venue that hosts the Zoo’s Wildlife Warrior Show, daily.

Now completed, it is expected to generate 21 gigawatt-hours of electricity over 25 years, for the Zoo in Beerwah, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

In a statement on LinkedIn, GEM Energy described the job as one of the company’s “most challenging and rewarding” to date. And you can watch its progress in the video above.

“To compliment the Australia Zoo’s remarkable wildlife conservation, this system will produce clean solar energy that will power the Zoo for years to come as well and greatly contribute towards the global movement towards renewable energy,” the company said.


The Queensland project – it’s worth noting – is one of those major commercial jobs that may have been rendered unviable under the state government’s proposed rule change for solar projects over 100kW in size; which was enacted in May, then ruled invalid by the Supreme Court, and now looks to be headed to appeal by the government.

Indeed, GEM Energy has been one of the most vocal and active opponents of the solar rule change, which still aims to make the mounting and fixing of solar panels a job that only licensed electricians can perform.

“The reality is, installing a solar panel is not electrical work. … It’s outrageous,” GEM Energy founder Jack Hooper told One Step in April.

“With this rule, we would need to change this mix to 80 per cent electricians. In doing so, this would not only raise the cost of the project, but it would make it take a lot longer.

“Under constriction we’ve currently got a 1.3MW project, a 790kW project, a 1.1MW project, a 911kW project and a 500kW project that will all come to a grinding halt because we’re not going to be able resource to deliver these projects,” Hooper said.

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