As part of a Commonwealth Government Green Precincts project, 54.6 kWp of PV was installed across a number 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, from October to March, Heron Island is home to over 100,000 birds - mostly Black Noddy Terns (Anous minutus) and the Wedgetailed Shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus). Heavy rainfall during the wet season helps counter some of the inevitable fouling 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 in 2012 and use satellite communication technology to solve this problem.

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.  Visit the Heron Island website for more information on teaching and research at HIRS.

  • Administration and Teaching FacilityThe administration offices and library/teaching spaces each have a 12.6 kWp array on their roof making 25.2 kWp in total.   Read More
  • Research Laboratories Teaching and research aquaria are located on decks adjacent the laboratories. There is 12.6 kWp PV system on the roof.
    Read More
  • Boat Shed This building shelters research vessels and houses the HIRS maintenance workshop. It has 16.8 kWp of roof-top PV. Read More

Heron Island section

Administration and Teaching Facility

Administration and Teaching Facility

The Administration and Teaching blocks each have a 12.6 kWp roof-mounted PV array making the total installation 25.2 kWp. Modules are installed parallel with the roof on the Teaching Block. To compensate for the reverse roof slope on the Administration Block, the panels there are tilted above the roofline to the point where their angle to the sun is the same as those on the Teaching Block.

The Administration and Teaching Facility provides modern teaching labs and classrooms, a computer room and a reference library. Outdoor amenities include a large seating/dining space, amphitheatre, a reef touch tank and display aquaria. It is the teaching and social hub of the HIRS.

  • Site Name: Heron Island Research Station (HIRS)
  • Building/Location: Administration and Teaching Facility
  • Suburb/City: Heron Island, QLD
  • Nominal DC output:25.2 kWp
  • Module area: 178.2 m²
  • Start-up Date: 1/06/2010
  • Visible on Live Data Display: No
  • Date Connected to Display:Mid 2012 (planned)

Technical Data

  • Site Longitude: 151°54'47" E
  • Site Latitude: 23°26'33"
  • Height Above Sea Level: 9 metres
  • Time Zone: AEST
  • Type of Installation:Rooftop installation (elevated)
  • Tracking system: No tracking system
  • Tilt:10 °
  • Orientation: 30°
  • Module Make & Model: Polycrystalline silicon
  • Module Technology: Kyocera 210w
  • Module Size: 1500 x 990 mm
  • Number of Modules: 120
  • Inverter Make & Model:Aurora One PVI-4.2 KD210GH-2PU
  • Number of Inverters:6
Boat Shed

Boat Shed

The Boatshed has 16.8 kWp of roof mounted PV panels. The panels are installed parallel with the low angle roof line and are arranged symmetrically either side of the roof's NNE-SSW central ridge.

The Boatshed provides a focal point for teaching and research boating activities: the HIRS has a small fleet of boats ranging in capacity from 5 to 12 persons. Compressors and other diving equipment are located nearby. The Boatshed has a workshop which is also used to maintain the HIRS amenities and infrastructure and to modify research equipment.

  • Site Name: Heron Island Research Station (HIRS)
  • Building/Location: Boat Shed
  • Suburb/City: Heron Island, QLD
  • Nominal DC output:16.8 kWp
  • Module area:119 m²
  • Start-up Date: 1/06/2010
  • Visible on Live Data Display: No
  • Date Connected to Display:Mid 2012 (planned)

Technical Data

  • Site Longitude: 151°54'45" E
  • Site Latitude: 23°26'33" S
  • Height Above Sea Level: 9 metres
  • Time Zone: AEST
  • Type of Installation:Rooftop installation (elevated)
  • Tracking system: No tracking system
  • Tilt:5 °
  • Orientation: 120° & 300°
  • Module Make & Model: Kyocera 210w KD210GH-2PU
  • Module Technology: Polycrystalline silicon
  • Module Size: 1500 x 990 mm
  • Number of Modules: 80
  • Inverter Make & Model:Aurora One PVI-4.2
  • Number of Inverters:4
Research Laboratories

Research Laboratories

The roof-top PV installation on the Research Laboratories is similar to that located on the Teaching Block: a 12.6 kWp array with panels mounted parallel to the roof. Electrical power from the array is used in the Research Laboratories, outdoor equipment on the adjacent aquaria deck, and nearby buildings.

IRS has 7 large laboratories (5 dry and 2 wet labs), fully equipped with modern equipment and an adjacent dark microscope room. These laboratories and the near pristine conditions of island's marine environment make HIRS the ideal platform to undertake research on the Great Barrier Reef.

In addition to having PV to generate electricity, the HIRS makes use of solar collectors to heat water for the shower block (shown in the thumbnail photo below). 

Site Name: Heron Island Research Station (HIRS)

  • Building/Location: Research Laboratories
  • Suburb/City: Heron Island, QLD
  • Nominal DC output:12.6 kWp
  • Module area: 89 m²
  • Start-up Date: 1/06/2010
  • Visible on Live Data Display: No
  • Date Connected to Display:Mid 2012 (planned)

Technical Data

  • Site Longitude: 151°54'48" E
  • Site Latitude: 23°26'33" S
  • Height Above Sea Level: 9 metres
  • Time Zone: AEST
  • Type of Installation:Rooftop installation (elevated)
  • Tracking system: No tracking system
  • Tilt:10 °
  • Orientation: 30°
  • Module Make & Model: Polycrystalline silicon
  • Module Technology: Kyocera 210w KD210GH-2PU
  • Module Size: 1500 x 990 mm
  • Number of Modules: 60
  • Inverter Make & Model:Aurora One PVI-4.2
  • Number of Inverters:3