Solar power will add to the renewables mix on Rottnest, which currently gets about 30 per cent of its power from a wind turbine.

Rottnest Island to get solar power

Wednesday, 18 November, 2015 - 10:23

Energy Made Clean has won the contract to build a solar farm on Rottnest Island as part of a $7.3 million renewable energy project. 

The project is being funded jointly by the state ($2.5 million) and federal governments ($4.8 million), in partnership with Synergy, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Rottnest Island Authority and Hydro Tasmania.

The 600-kilowatt solar panel project is designed to reduce the use of costly diesel-fired power generation and take the amount of renewable energy used on the island to 45 per cent.

Rottnest’s sole wind turbine was commissioned in 2004 and currently provides about 30 per cent of the island’s power supplies.

Tourism Minister Kim Hames and Energy Minister Mike Nahan said the solar farm would be built near the airport and electricity from it would be used in part to power the island’s desalination plant, which supplies about 80 per cent of Rottnest’s freshwater supplies.

EMC managing director John Davidson said work would begin constructing the solar project in April next year.

It’s expected to begin operating by July 2016.

Mr Davidson said the project was the fourth island renewable energy installation EMC has been involved in following projects on Penguin island off Rockingham, Mackerel island off Onslow and Bathurst island in the Northern Territory.

The announcement of the solar project follows comments earlier this year by then prime minister Tony Abbott that Rottnest’s wind farm was “visually awful”, and comes amid the global Eco-Asia Pacific tourism conference, being held on the island this week.