Heron Island

As part of a Commonwealth Government Green Precincts project, 54.6 kWp of PV was installed across several buildings at the UQ Heron Island Research Station (HIRS). This has significantly reduced the amount of diesel fuel used for power generation on this environmentally sensitive island.

Roof-top PV arrays have been installed on the administration and teaching facility, the research laboratories and the boat and maintenance shed.

One of the challenges on Heron Island is keeping the PV panels clean. During the breeding season (October – March), Heron Island is home to more than 100,000 birds – mostly Black noddy terns (Anous minutus) and the Wedgetailed shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus).

The region's typically heavy rainfall during the wet season helps to counter some of the inevitable soiling of the PV panels.

Due to its remote location and limited internet infrastructure, the HIRS PV arrays are not yet connected to the live data feed. There are plans to upgrade the infrastructure to use satellite communication technology to solve this problem.

The Heron Island Research Station is a world-class research and teaching facility and the most productive and prestigious marine research station in Australia. It is also an important site for the long-term collection of baseline oceanographic data on the southern Great Barrier Reef.

In November 2018, UQ announced it was installing yet more high-efficiency solar panels on Heron Island.