Port Stephens Koala Hospital harnesses solar power to support critical care for local wildlife

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Move to solar provides wildlife hospital and rehabilitation centre with vital energy reserves, future-proofing operations and reducing carbon footprint.

For more than 34 years, the team at Port Stephens Koala Hospital has led the way in rescuing, protecting, caring for, and rehabilitating Australia’s most loved marsupial.

The crew, made up of dedicated volunteers and staff, have continuously championed innovation at the facility to support their vital work for injured and vulnerable local wildlife.

To meet the demands of the busy and growing facility, they sought the help of local solar providers, Solahart Newcastle, to install a reliable and efficient renewable energy system to strengthen the hospital’s operations and reduce carbon emissions.

Switching to solar for an important cause

In 2017, a simple shed with four rehabilitation yards was the main location for housing equipment and organising volunteers at Port Stephens. Sick koalas were then transported to an off-site vet clinic – an often stressful situation for the animal.

President of the Port Stephens Koala Hospital, Ron Land, and his team had a vision for a fully integrated hospital and connected enclosures to provide a single space for treatment, care, and eventual rehabilitation of the koalas.

In 2020, this dream became a reality, and for the past three years, the hospital and rehabilitation centre has significantly increased its ability to deal with emergencies.

“Assessing ways to improve the facility’s capacity to care for and treat the koalas is a continuous undertaking, and a major focus point this year has been reviewing our energy solutions and usage,” said Ron.

“The hot weather we’ve been experiencing is a timely reminder that we must take precautions so we can continue our operations in the event of bushfires and heatwaves this summer.”

“Power is critical to our emergency treatments, and we need to ensure we have backup options to handle all environmental conditions,” continued Ron.

After consulting the experts at Solahart Newcastle, Port Stephens Koala Hospital made the decision to install a brand-new solar power system.

With all Solahart products designed and manufactured to withstand even the harshest Australian conditions, Solahart Newcastle was able to offer Port Stephens Koala Hospital an efficient and tailored plan and reliable solar solution.

Koala-fied solar technology powers hospital

In developing the bespoke solar ecosystem, Port Stephens Koala Hospital opted to install a 29.6kW Solahart Platinum Silhouette solar power system with 74 x 400W Solahart SilhouetteTM Panels. This was combined with a SolarEdge Genesis Inverter, an Energy Hub Inverter, as well as two SolarEdge Energy Bank Batteries, all supplied by Solahart, to maximise solar energy production and self-consumption.

The size of the wildlife hospital and rehabilitation centre and its leafy surrounds were key considerations when building the proposal.

Anthony Roberts, who heads up Solahart Newcastle, said: “The property is partly covered by shade due to the surrounding tall gumtrees, but the SolarEdge system allows for the optimisation of energy harnessed by each of the solar panels. The system then stores unused solar energy in the Energy Bank batteries, which can be used as needed.”

“The installation of the SolarEdge Energy Bank batteries was particularly important given the hospital’s need to be able to operate in the event of a blackout,” adds Anthony.

The SolarEdge Energy Bank is a lithium-ion battery that, when supported by the SolarEdge inverters, can recharge using electricity generated by the solar panels.

“To further enhance the system, and given the partially shady location, we installed the Solahart Platinum Silhouette System, which optimises the performance of each panel, maximising overall energy production,” shared Anthony.

Future-forward solutions

As the Port Stephens Koala Hospital starts its solar journey, it is already predicted the facility will save 30.2 tonnes of carbon emissions within the first 12 months of installation.

“As well as providing a crucial energy backup system, our solar installation will significantly reduce the use of non-renewable energy sources by the hospital,” said Ron.

“Now, thanks to Solahart, we not only have a more robust energy solution but can commence planning the next steps of building a more sustainable facility for the future,” Ron adds.

“For Solahart Newcastle, it’s been fantastic to be able to support the Hospital, an organisation that is so admired by the community, by helping them harness energy free from the sun and embrace the benefits of solar for such an important cause,” concluded Anthony.

For more information on the meaningful work of the Port Stephens Koala Hospital, visit www.portstephenskoalas.com.au

For more information about Solahart or to get in touch with the team at Solahart Newcastle, visit www.solahart.com.au.

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