Solar + Flow Battery Installation For Queensland’s Heron Island

Solar Energy - Heron Island

Image source: Heron Island Resort

University of Queensland’s Heron Island Research Station (HIRS) on the Great Barrier Reef will soon build on its existing solar installation and add battery storage.

Heron Island is a 29-hectare coral cay situated in the southern Great Barrier Reef area, approximately 80 kilometres north-east of Gladstone. Heron Island’s only human inhabitants are those associated with the HIRS, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Heron Island Resort.

The small island is home to more than 100,000 birds at times and is also an important sea turtle nesting ground. A turtle soup canning factory was established on the island in the 1920s, but thankfully that was short-lived.

HIRS is internationally recognised for coral reef research and student training in marine sciences. It is the oldest and largest marine research station on the Great Barrier Reef, catering to Australian and international researchers and educational groups.

Yesterday, juwi Renewable Energy announced it had signed an agreement with the University of Queensland to deliver a 500kW rooftop solar panel installation for the facility, plus a 0.6MWh vanadium-based flow battery integrated with diesel generators using a microgrid control system.

This project is expected to supply more than 80% of HIRS’s annual electricity needs and should be operational in the middle of next year.

“Hybrid power solutions offer the potential to significantly reduce the amount of diesel consumption in often pristine environments whilst maintaining reliability,” said Dave Manning, Global Head of Hybrid for juwi. “On top of that, hybrid power stations now generate electricity at a lower cost than traditional fossil fuel power stations.”

The new installation will join 54.6 kW of solar panels that were installed across a number of buildings at the research station back in 2011 as part of a Commonwealth Government Green Precincts project.

Solar Power For Heron Island Resort

Aldesta Hotel Group announced earlier this year Heron Island Resort would transition from using generators for powering the resort, kitchen and amenities to solar power.

“We’re doing everything we can to try to get us off the grid and be more eco-friendly and of course decrease the extra costs of running a generator,” said Aldesta’s vice president Stuart Hammond.

According to a more recent article, it appears the system may have already been installed, but capacity and other details weren’t revealed. Aldesta¬† Hotel Group, which is based in Canada, acquired Heron Island Resort in 2017.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Vanadium Flow Batteries seem to promise so much in all possible and positive ways? – Yet! the companies claiming to provide them are going bust one after another?
    What’s going on?
    I defy you to find a supplier of these potential battery solutions up and running? – I defy you to get a fixed quote from these pretenders – it seems to be just a hype – and that’s not good?

  2. Thought I would share information about the company who provided the vanadium flow batteries used …UniEnergy Technologies – ReFlex –

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Bill

      If you put your relationship with the company in the comment it will be less likely to be registered as spam.

  3. Scott Meloni says

    I think it is worth your time to follow up how all this is going for the Heron island Station and Juwi, As I have had the pleasure of getting to see it first hand.
    A Follow up nearly 12 months after this article was published just might answer some peoples questions about the system and batteries.

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