The ultimate jewel of the Kalahari unveils solar energy
“Often called the Jewel of the Kalahari, the Okavango Delta is a mind blowing maze of sparkling lagoons. Therefore the last thing you probably want to see/hear/think about when visiting is a diesel generator. That’s why luxury experiential travel company andBeyond recently unveiled yet another initiative at Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp,” andBeyond.
Capitalising on the latest available technology, the company has installed a state-of-the-art off-grid electrical micro grid at Xaranna. The first of its kind in Botswana and only the second on the African continent, it incorporates a solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant and a Tesla Powerpack battery energy storage system (BESS). “We are constantly striving to find and implement new technologies that will allow us to keep delivering on our brand of luxury responsible tourism,” and Beyond CEO Joss Kent.
“We believe that implementing the latest available solutions helps us to maintain the sustainable tourism measures that we have become known for, thus ensuring that the remarkable landscapes where our lodges are situated are preserved for future generations to enjoy,” says &Beyond.
“Solar photovoltaic technology has proven itself to be a reliable, economic and effective way of reducing one’s carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels. With an aim of reducing the carbon emissions across our group by 8% by 2020, we are currently actively implementing energy-saving, environmentally-friendly systems such as these at our lodges in Botswana.”
The introduction of the solar power system at &Beyond Xaranna has allowed the lodge to decrease generator runtime from 24 to 5 hours per day. This reduction not only saves on the use of diesel but also decreases the generator services and parts required, as well as the impact of having the diesel delivered, including the emissions from both the delivery trucks and the generator itself. The Tesla Powerpack System was chosen because thanks to the wide range of temperatures at which it can operate, as well as it’s cycling capacity when compared to traditional lead-acid batteries. With Xaranna’s solar power plant producing an average of 450 kWh of energy per day, the system can supply over 8-% of the camp’s requirements using renewable energy while reducing its carbon footprint by 4 500 000 kg (9 920 000 lb) per year.
The solar power system was installed by New Southern Energy without the use of concrete and is designed so that it can be relocated or removed with no permanent impact to the land, a crucial element in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The installation at &Beyond Xaranna follows the addition of a solar energy system during the refurbishment of &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge in 2015 and means that both lodges now have fully operational hybrid energy solutions installed. The completion of a similar system at another of 2 &Beyond’s Okavango Delta Lodge, Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp, is planned for mid-2018.
With &Beyond’s efforts to reduce energy consumption targeting those areas where the impact is the highest, solar hot water systems have also been installed at both Sandibe and Nxabega. Not only are these installations more energy efficient but they also reduce the wastage of water.
About andBeyond: Kalahari unveils solar energy
Continually looking for new and inventive ways of minimising impact on the environment, &Beyond is also looking for solutions that would allow it to install water bottling plants similar to those found at its South African lodges in Botswana. While the challenge here lies in the high tannin content in the Okavango Delta water, the company is exploring the option of a micro filter process that uses reverse osmosis.
For more information regarding andBeyond, luxury ecotourism safaris or to book a once in a lifetime exper visit here.
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Tracy Burrows77 Posts
If there is one thing that I have learnt, it is the more I see, the more there is to see! My name is Tracy Burrows and I am the managing editor of Out There Global, a community driven travel platform for both cost effective and luxury travel ideas around the world. From Jan 2014 - Dec 2016 I managed the LatestSightings.com blog (a United Nations World Summit Award Winner: Culture & Tourism 2016 & National Geographic partner). I was also consulting editor at MOZambique Magazine, and contributor at Sawubona. Prior to my career I obtained a tourism marketing degree, and graduated from a 2 year 'Hospitality Management in Development Program' in California. Following this I acquired a journalism diploma and since it's been all about travel and writing! And my nourishment from all those who have impacted me: family; friends; and strangers alike. Thank you for joining our journey!