Island goes solar to save fuel

IN the renowned natural beauty of a coral island in the Great Barrier Reef, it makes sense to get the most out of nature as you can.

Lady Elliot Island, just a 25-minute flight from Hervey Bay, is doing just that, offering a solar powered future on show for all to experience.

The 150-bed resort on the island is energised by 96 solar panels in a specially designed structure, which has cut the island's dependence on diesel to a fraction of its former levels.

Managing director Peter Gash said the resort was able to go from more than 200,000 litres of diesel a year to run the generator down to only 60,000 litres since the panels were installed.

With more panels on the way and a wind generator in the planning stages, Mr Gash believes the day will soon come when the island will be able to run free of any fossil fuels.

Wide Bay Water, more commonly known to the Fraser Coast through its ownership of the popular Wetside Water Park, is also helping out.

It has donated experimental solar powered machinery for the resort to desalinate its own water from the surrounding sea using nothing but the power of the sun.

Lady Elliot Island is getting international recognition for its pioneering efforts as well, with researchers from universities all over the world coming to the island to study sustainability.

The first vessel to attempt to circumnavigate the globe using solar power also visited Lady Elliot Island on its recent voyage up the Australian coast.

The crew of the Turanor PlanetSolar was impressed with the island, describing it as “paradise”.

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