Edinburgh Zoo will be leading ‘zoo in UK for green energy’ with 1500 solar panels slashing CO2e by 200 tonnes

The move to install 1,500 solar panels by the end of the year will generate a quarter of the organisation’s electricity and is part of Edinburgh Zoo’s strategy to be net zero by 2040.
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Edinburgh Zoo is set to have more than 1,500 solar panels installed by the end of the year as part of the wildlife charity’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint by 60 per cent by 2030 and be net zero by 2040.

Leading energy and solutions provider E.ON has been tasked to install the 1,548 solar panels with resident meerkats, giraffes, armadillos and penguins all looking on as construction gets underway.

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Edinburgh Zoo’s ‘solar meadow’ will feature more than 1,500 bifacial solar photovoltaic (PV) panels which can potentially generate up to 880,000 kWh of power a year and produce around a quarter of the conservation charity’s annual electricity consumption.

The solar panels which can potentially generate up to 880,000 kWh of power a year and produce around a quarter of the conservation charity’s annual electricity consumption. Photo: RZSSThe solar panels which can potentially generate up to 880,000 kWh of power a year and produce around a quarter of the conservation charity’s annual electricity consumption. Photo: RZSS
The solar panels which can potentially generate up to 880,000 kWh of power a year and produce around a quarter of the conservation charity’s annual electricity consumption. Photo: RZSS

David Field, chief executive at Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), said: “It’s vital that we inspire people to protect, value and love nature, and that starts with ensuring we’re reducing our own carbon paw-print on site at our zoos.

Nature and nature-based solutions must be prioritised, and our new solar installation with E.ON is a huge step in setting RZSS as a global exemplar for biodiversity and sustainability. The meadow is projected to generate up to 880,000 kWh a year, which represents a saving of 194 tonnes of CO2e, or eight per cent of our carbon annually.”

Mr Field added: “When the solar meadow is complete, we’ll become the number one zoo in the UK for green energy generation and number three in Europe.”

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The bi-facial solar panels generate electricity by exposing both sides of the solar cells in the panels to sunlight and although the solar meadow development site is bordered by woodland no trees will be removed to accommodate the building works. To ensure the animal’s health and welfare is not compromised, no heavy or invasive groundworks are to take place during the project.

Chris Lovatt, chief operating officer of UK Solutions at E.ON, said: “There’s no greater positive link between energy and our environment than generating sustainable power and using it for wildlife conservation, and this agreement with RZSS delivers both an economic and environmental win.”

Mr Lovatt added: “This project contributes to the great work of RZSS and is just one of the ways we’re working with customers at home, in business and across whole communities, taking climate action to help the UK meet its net zero targets and combat the climate crisis.”