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Facing hippos and elephants while transporting solar equipment to remote safari lodges by boat and 4×4 became all in a day’s work for the SolarSaver team when they recently installed battery-solar off-grid systems at the remote Nambwa Tented Lodge and Kazile Island Lodge in Namibia for African Monarch Lodges. Both lodges now operate 100% off solar power 24 hours a day.
Remote lodges are increasingly turning to solar power rather than diesel to operate off-grid, according to Stefan Kleemann, Senior Engineer for SolarSaver Group. The provider of customised rooftop solar photovoltaic solutions is currently completing a number of solar projects in Namibia and South Africa through a rent-to-own model that makes it possible for businesses like the lodges to completely switch to solar power or supplement grid power with no capital outlay. The lodges pay only for the greener power generated by the solar installation.
Air conditioning, refrigeration, cleaning appliances, pumps, lighting, television, device charging and heating are among the main sources of energy consumption at safari lodges. Nambwa Tented Lodge, perched high in the tree canopies on the elephant migratory routes in the Bwabwata National Park, required a 50kWp installation. Kazile Island Lodge, located on a private island in the park, installed 25kWp to take care of all power requirements.
“Namibia’s hot dry climate and abundant sunshine for over 300 days per year make it an ideal spot to harness the energy of the sun.” says Kleemann. “These lodges are in remote natural landscapes and are not connected to the national grid. Previously, the lodges were generating power on-site using diesel generators, which generate hazardous exhaust gases and noise, as well as being are costly due to the high cost of maintenance and fuel transport to remote destinations. Solar power provides a peaceful, green solution that has the added advantage of saving costs.”
African Monarch Lodges owner, Tinolla Rodgers, is delighted with the switch to solar. “Our focus is on promoting responsible tourism and we are committed to the long-term conservation of the few remaining pristine wildlife areas within the Zambezi Region in Namibia. Solar power enables us reduce our impact on the environment and give our guests the best experience. We are now even more “off the grid” than before!”
Namibia’s former Miss Universe, Michelle McLean, recently stayed at African Monarch Lodges and visited a few of its sustainability projects, including the solar power operation. “I have always been an ambassador for solar power and have a desire for Namibia to be the frontrunner in Africa for this renewable energy source. It’s encouraging to see that African Monarch Lodges has gone full solar at both of their establishments, a move that is directly in line with their vision of sustainability and conservation of the pristine wilderness surrounding the lodges.”
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