North Keppel (Konomie) Island, is home to a unique environmental education centre run by the Queensland Government. The centre is eleven kilometres off Yeppoon on the Capricorn Coast. It is the only Environmental Education Centre situated in a national park and is surrounded by the stunning seascapes of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. There are no other developments on the island which sits off the Capricornia Coast. About 2,500 students stay on the island for school camp each year where they learn about climate change, First Nations culture and sustainable living.

As their commitment to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint, Queensland Government commissioned Solar Hybrids to install and integrate a completely off grid power system. Some key challenges to this project were integrating old PV modules and an old wind turbine to work with the newer technologies; and managing logistics on an island off the Capricornia coast, accessible only by boat. The ground mount structure also required a bespoke design specific to the site to ensure minimal disturbances to the ground whilst considering the needs of traditional owners.

To achieve the Qld Government Education Centres commitment to sustainability and to meet the energy needs of the site the new off grid power system was designed to provide close to 100kW’s of power and 450kWh’s of energy. Quality products and strong warranties were essential. We utilised as many local manufacturers as possible to improve supply chain security and to foster local job creation in the renewable energy sector. As the only Australian based manufacturer of solar panels, Tindo were a perfect choice to provide the 258 solar panels needed for the project. The Selectronic SP Pro multi-mode inverters are also made in Australia and charge controllers were designed and manufactured by local, family owned business AERL in Brisbane, Queensland. The solar inverters used were Fronius, which is a highly reputable inverter manufacturer, and the 36 Lithium batteries are Cegasa which is a Spanish manufacturer which specialises in batteries for harsher environments.

The off-grid system allows the Education Centre to continue to deliver an authentic experience to their visitors and students in a highly sustainable manner. Solar Hybrids was happy to be chosen as the preferred installer and our ability to be creative ensured the various challenges were met.

A video featuring the project on the ABC network can be found here as well as an accompanying article published by ABC news.

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