Parks & Wildlife | Renewable Energy Project

Barge arriving on Maria Island as Contact Group staff member waits on shore.

Construction has begun on an exciting new project on Maria Island on Tasmania’s east coast.

Contact Group won a Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service contract to design and deliver a solar array and battery storage facility on the island.

The project will replace a small solar system and old diesel generator at the Darlington precinct, bringing much more efficient and reliable power to the whole island.

The automated slim-line ground mount solar system will provide a solar array capacity of 55kW and a BESS capacity of 215kWh, providing a minimum of two days battery autonomy.

Contact Group’s Managing Director, Wade Fromberg, said it was a challenging but rewarding project to design and construct.

“There are always logistical challenges when working on remote islands, but Contact Group is well experienced, having successfully carried out an award winning power system upgrade on Cape Barren Island in 2020.”

Contact Group was awarded winner of the 2020/21 Energy Efficiency & Environment category in the NECA awards for the Cape Barren Island Power Generation Project.

Truck and equipment being unloaded on to Maria Island wharf.

The works are being funded through the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s commitment as part of the Maria Island Re-Discovered projects and the Improved State-wide Visitor Infrastructure program.

In a statement, the Minister for Parks Roger Jaensch said the project will not only deliver a sustainable energy supply, but importantly reduce demand on diesel power generation and provide greater renewable energy capacity for the Darlington precinct.

“The final stage of the $12.63 million Maria Island project will see the delivery of critical infrastructure upgrades, including new wastewater treatment, improved rainwater capture and storage capacity and the new solar array which will assist in protecting Maria Islands natural and cultural values, while enhancing the visitor experience”, he said.

A barge contractor has been engaged to move heavy machinery and equipment to and from the Island while the construction takes place, with visitor safety advisory signs in place around the jetty.

The solar project is expected to be completed within a month, with no impact to visitors and ferry operations.

Mounts are being constructed on Maria Island for the new solar system.