Our phased installation of solar hybrid power plants started in 2017.
Following an extended period of close consultation with New Southern Energy (NSE), the decision was made to begin with our lodges situated in the environmentally-sensitive environment of Botswana’s pristine Okavango Delta, UNESCO’s 1 000th World Heritage Site.
NSE’s customised micro-grid solutions, using TESLA technology, have proved to be the ideal option for the remote locations of our Botswana and Namibian generator-based lodges, converting each site to run predominantly off renewable energy.
In addition, NSE provide a detailed monthly analysis of the system’s performance and energy savings.
What are the benefits of this integrated energy solution?
• Reliable, economic and effective way of reducing our direct carbon footprint
• Reduction in the dependence on fossil fuels (i.e. diesel usage)
• Reduction of: generator run-time, generator services and parts required, associated diesel transport costs and
risks; carbon emissions caused by generators and transport trucks and generator noise pollution
• Increased energy independence
• Reduced environmental risks from the transport of fuel into a sensitive natural habitat
• Reduced logistical and operational costs
Solar hybrid: Power systems that combine solar power from a photovoltaic system with another energy source.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) system: solar cells, also called PV cells, convert sunlight into energy i.e. convert photons of sunlight into volts of electricity = photovoltaic.
Solar / PV inverter: an electronic device that converts photovoltaic energy into a an energy source with a frequency compatible with a commercial or off-grid (e.g. generator) system.
Taking the solar-generator hybrid plant in operation at &Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta lodge as an example, the system is sized to supply more than 80% of the lodge’s energy requirements from renewable energy, with a 19-hour reduction in generator run-time and no compromising of our guest service levels.
The working components include:
- Solar panels (122.4 kWp)
- 4 solar inverters (Fronius, @27Kw)
- Tesla Powerpack battery (100KvA/190 kWh lithium-ion)
- Micro-grid controller (MGC)
- 2 generators (@ 125 kVa)
The MGC intelligently coordinates the input and output of the energy generation and storage components to meet the lodge’s energy requirements. The required power is directed to the lodge, with excess energy redirected to the Tesla battery storage bank.
No concrete was used in the construction, and the entire system can be relocated or removed with no permanent impact to the land.
This battery energy storage system comprises stacked “banks” of lithium-ion battery pods and provides remarkable cost and energy savings.
In addition to its ability to operate in high temperatures, 100% of each battery’s charge can be accessed compared to the 50% accessibility of a lead-acid battery, and the life-span of these lithium-ion batteries is warranted for 10 years of daily cycles i.e. 3 650 cycles versus only 1 500 cycles for the lead alternatives.
Our phased roll out of solar hybrid plant renewable energy sources at our generator-based lodges in Botswana and Namibia in partnership with NSE, is a foundational element of our long-term commitment to the implementation of renewable energy sources across our group lodge operations.