Research shows solar energy a good fit for safari lodges

Exeron power storage modular solution

Exeron power storage modular solution

A recent report from THEnergy-IPS has demonstrated that solar hybrid systems are a good energy solution for safari lodges.

Safari lodges are usually located in remote natural landscapes and often not connected to the national grid; generating power on-site using diesel generators. Diesel power is flexible, but has disadvantages including high costs - partly due to transport - and a significant ecological impact, mainly CO2-emissions, local hazardous exhaust gases, and noise.

In solar-diesel hybrid applications, solar is combined with diesel generators for reducing diesel consumption. The new THEnergy-IPS report entitled “Hybrid Solar Mini-grids for Remote Safari Lodges in Africa” shows that as a result, costs are reduced, and both noise and emission levels are improved.

Air conditioning, fans, fridges, freezers, dish washers, washing machines, pumps, lighting, television, phone and camera charging, and heating are among the main sources of energy consumption at safari lodges. Power is needed around the clock, with a peak during the middle of the day and in the early evening. Typical safari guests are demanding of a stable electricity supply. Although green efforts by safari lodges are supported, guests are not often willing to accept power restrictions. A reliable and robust power supply is therefore a basic requirement.

Hybrid controllers or energy conversion units are the key components for efficiently synchronising the load with various power sources and energy storage, and will ensure a reliable power supply. In addition, solar power is often 50% (or more) cheaper than diesel power at remote safari locations.

The power demand of lodges might change over time, e.g. through property extensions or when their vehicle fleet is electrified. Modular approaches allow for adding additional solar and storage capacity at a later stage. The share of renewable energy can be increased for fully powering lodges with solar or wind energy plus storage 24/7.

Dr. Thomas Hillig, Managing Director of THEnergy said, “We see an excellent fit between safari lodges on the one hand, and solar and energy storage applications on the other. The first safari lodge operators like Wilderness Safaris, &beyond, Singita, and Kambaku have turned to powering their lodges with solar and storage. The biggest off-grid installation can reach a size of more than 400 kWp solar and 3.2MWh battery storage. Safari lodges are a very attractive target segment for solar and energy storage companies.”

The full report can be downloaded at:

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