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Solar power protecting our maritime treasures

20 August 2021

Housing some of Australia’s most iconic objects, from important First Nations Australian cultural items, to photos, objects and vessels from Australia’s maritime participation in two world wars, the Australian Maritime Museum on Sydney’s Darling Harbour has some very specific climate control requirements.

To ensure these significant collections are stored to archival standards, the museum maintains strict temperature and humidity conditions. This, coupled with the architecture of the museum, poses some very specific technical challenges when it comes to designing and installing a renewable energy system for the museum.

To reduce the museum’s environmental impact and energy bills, a 235kW solar panel system was installed on the roof of the Wharf 7 Heritage Centre, a section of the museum housing collections, a library, and administration offices in 2019. Addressing the steep pitch of the building, the museum installed a system consisting of 812 light weight solar panels made from a composite polymer rather than conventional glass. This reduced the weight of the system by 70% without any reduction in power generation capacity and resulted in the largest light-weight solar panel array in Australia.

The solar system will save about $50,000 a year in electricity for the Wharf 7 Heritage Centre – around 25% of the building’s energy costs.


Representatives from the Australian National Maritime Museum, Australian Renewable Energy Agency & Sunman.
Photo source: Australian Maritime Museum





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