By Hilary Mare
WITH its new 204kWp solar-powered installation, Arebbusch Travel Lodge is among the leading members of the Southern African hospitality industry that are rapidly joining the green revolution.
Consisting of 640 photovoltaic panels, the installation which is the first in Namibia has been mounted on a horizontal weighting system that continuously tracks the sun.
Lodge manager John Williams is satisfied with this N$4.6 million investment, which enables the popular corporate and leisure resort to generate its own power.
“During the day, the installation provides the laundry and restaurant with power. It provides 92 percent of our required daily power usage, and that is during the reduced sunlight of winter,” Williams enthused.
According to Alensy Alternative Energy Systems operational manager, Jonathan Swart, Arebbusch is the first company in Windhoek to request a commercial system of this kind, which is a huge milestone.
Swart handed the project over to Williams on 12 July.
He says the technology behind the system has been accepted in Namibia and that the panels are guaranteed for 25 years of use, at a minimum of 80 percent capacity.
“The lodge can expect to recover the value of the installation, through power savings, within five years,” Swart said.
An app allows Williams to stay abreast of power provision and usage at Arebbusch, and formed part of the installation.
The built-in recording system provides information from as far back as a year ago, and in this way, simplifies the comparison and monitoring of the system.
Other notable green hotels and accommodation establishments in Southern Africa, which have employed solar power, include the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, Cape Town, which boasts a 60-panel installation of Solarus Sunpower’s hybrid solar PowerCollectors. Their 90kWp hybrid photovoltaic-thermal system provides 75kW peak thermal and 15kW peak electric output to the hotel, in a system partly subsidised by the Dutch government.
Wilderness Safaris will also be converting an increasing number of its camps, located in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, the Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, to 100 percent solar power, to help minimise any negative impacts its operations may have on the environment.
Namibia faces an electricity deficit in the near future, given that the country imports 60 percent of its power.
The Ruacana hydroelectric power plant, the Van Eck thermal coal-fired facility, Anixas and Paratus in Walvis Bay and the Tsunkwe solar-diesel hybrid plant do not have the capacity to generate sufficient electricity for the country.
City of Windhoek demand is expected to exceed the capacity of Nampower’s single supply point to the capital city, the 220/66 kV Van Eck transmission substation, before 2020.
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