Luxury lodges across Africa are turning to the sun to meet their energy needs in a quest to save the environment and embrace sustainable practices. Cape Town based EPC, 1Energy, specializes in remote, off-grid solar and have recently been awarded the contract to design and install the energy centre at the new luxury Xigera Safari Lodge.
Based in the world’s most remote and pristine wilderness areas, the Okavango Delta in Botswana, the new lodge is currently under construction and will boast a hybrid system featuring Tesla Powerpacks set to sustain the lodge when it is at full occupancy. The Okavango is the largest inland delta in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site.
Andy Heathcoat-Marks, Director at 1Energy, says the business was uniquely positioned to deliver this pioneering energy project having a strong track record of successful projects in far-flung regions throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean for almost a decade. “1Energy is a registered Tesla 3rd party installer. This means we are one of the few African companies to be sanctioned by Tesla to purchase and install their systems.”
“We made the decision to offer Tesla as our preferred solution in 2018, with Mpala Jena being our first Tesla site. We prefer their systems; they are far superior in terms of technology and they extremely price competitive. The team at 1Energy has been impressed with the quality of equipment and the ease of assembly. Tesla has clearly identified the levers to extracting optimum efficiency from solar hybrid systems.”
The system comprises 400kW of solar PV with a heart of the power system being five of the latest Tesla Powerpacks with a power capacity of 285kW, and total available storage capacity of 1.14MWh. Tesla’s lithium storage offering is leading the charge in the off-grid space.
“The Xigera Energy Centre is a hybrid solar system as it features a diesel backup. It produces 100% of the energy requirements for any operation that would necessitate the solar system to be so over-sized that it becomes unsustainable. The Xigera system is therefore backed up by 350kVA Volvo diesel generators. Although the system from 1Energy is designed to supply over 95% of Xigera’s needs.”
The generators will run only in the event of extended poor weather conditions and will remain idle, saving the lodge an estimated 175 000 litres of diesel, and the environment 500 tons of carbon emissions each year.
The lodge operates in a beautiful, environmentally sensitive area, making the use of solar-generated power imperative as it means less diesel will be transported through the area. To date, lodges using solar power have reported an increase in wildlife within close vicinity of the camps, allowing for the better guest experience.
“Sustainable energy solutions such as solar are starting to not only compete with but supersede traditional means of electricity generation. And 1Energy is committed to minimizing the impact of any and all developments in remote areas across Africa,” says Heathcoat-Marks.
Xigera Safari Lodge is part of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection with Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, The Twelve Apostles and Spa, and The Oyster Box.