Elephants at Perth Zoo are the newest supporters of a solar-powered future after Environment Minister Bill Marmion today unveiled the city’s biggest solar site at the zoo.

More than 300 solar panels have been installed across eight buildings, including the elephant barn, reptile enclosure and education classrooms.

Mr Marmion said the 90.9 kW solar installation was expected to produce more than 120,000 kWh of energy per year for use by the zoo.

“The 303 solar panels are stage one of a two-stage $2.7 million installation project at Perth Zoo, jointly funded by the State and Federal governments,” he said.

“The zoo is committed to sustainability and conservation and will demonstrate to the broader community the economic and environmental benefits of wiser energy choices.

“Perth Zoo will be well positioned to showcase sustainable ways of living, with on-site educational material for its 630,000 annual visitors.

“We want to encourage people to install household solar energy systems to take advantage of Perth’s high number of sunny days.

“With about 300 sunny days a year, a typical 1.5 kW household system in Perth saves about three tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year, nearly the same amount produced by driving a car 40,000 km.”

The Minister said Perth Zoo was chosen as one of five identifiable sites to showcase major solar installations as an environmentally-sustainable source of energy that reduced carbon emissions, as part of the Perth Solar City program.

The program is part of the Federal Government’s $94 million Solar City initiative and is challenging industry, business, governments and communities to come together and change the way they produce, use and save energy.

Western Power is managing the program and worked with the State Government, Perth Zoo and SunPower to install the solar system.