The largest inland delta in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site, there are no paved roads here. No power lines. No cell signal. With the introduction of solar, the silence is only interrupted by the wildlife itself. It is a place largely untouched by man, and the goal is to keep it that way. Opting for solar power is one of many ways that Xigera is reducing its environmental footprint and embracing sustainable practices.
95% of energy powered by solar1Energy designed and installed the Xigera Energy Centre: a sophisticated solar hybrid power system. The system comprises 400kW of solar PV, with the heart of the power system being five of the latest Tesla Powerpacks, with a power capacity of 285kW each and total available storage capacity of 1.14MWh. This is backed up by two 350kVA Volvo diesel generators.
“The solar system is designed to supply over 95% of Xigera’s energy needs,” says 1Energy’s Managing Director, Andy Heathcote-Marks. “The generators will run only in the event of extended poor weather conditions, and although still an essential part of the system, will mostly remain idle, saving the lodge an estimated 175 000 litres of diesel, and the environment 500 tons of carbon emissions each year.”
Energy solutions of the futureXigera operates in an incredibly beautiful but environmentally sensitive area and therefore making use of solar generation provides benefits beyond just fuel savings. The fact that diesel no longer powers the lodge means less diesel being transported through these areas. Fewer trucks into and out of areas such as the Okavango Delta compounds the saving of greenhouse emissions and lowers the impact on the land and wildlife that inhabit the area. Lodges that have opted for solar have reported wildlife coming closer to camps as noisy generators aren’t scaring them off, allowing for a better guest experience and a more peaceful camp environment. It is for reasons such as these that the tourism sector is starting to look very seriously at solar energy as their primary source of power.
“We are living in exciting times, where sustainable energy solutions such as solar are starting to not only compete with but supersede traditional means of electricity generation,” says Heathcote-Marks. “In the not-too-distant-future we will look back at fossil fuel as the dinosaur it truly is.”