The Hon. Melissa Price MP
Minister for the Environment
The first-ever solar power system at an Australian Antarctic station has been switched on, a landmark achievement that will improve energy stability and reduce emissions at Australia’s operations.
The 105 solar panel system, at Casey research station in East Antarctica, will provide up to 30 kilowatts of renewable energy into the power grid.
It will deliver about 10 per cent of the station’s total demand over a year, reducing reliance on diesel fuel, cutting emissions and boosting the station’s capacity in peak periods.
If the trial is successful, solar panels will be introduced at Australia’s other Antarctic stations, Mawson and Davis and on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island.
The trial at Casey will test the durability and suitability of the panels to the Antarctic environment, and investigate if the panels can be connected to a battery storage system.
It took two months for the engineering team at Casey station to install the panels on the wall of one of the station buildings over summer. The panels were specially adapted to capture the low angle of the sun and strengthened against the extreme cold and windy weather conditions.
The Morrison Government recently announced it would invest $450 million over the next 10 years to upgrade Australia’s Antarctic research station network and supporting infrastructure. The Coalition is committed to ensuring Australia remains a leader in Antarctica and cementing Tasmania as the premier gateway and scientific research hub for East Antarctica.