February 2018 – As Africa’s leading authentic and sustainable ecotourism company, Wilderness Safaris continues to drive its solar conversion programme by implementing various sustainable energy solutions in almost all of its camps across Africa, further demonstrating its commitment to creating as light a footprint as possible.
Solar geyser at Kalahari Plains Camp; solar arrays at Hoanib Skeleton Coast and Mombo camps
Fiercely dedicated to protecting our planet’s precious natural and cultural resources, Wilderness Safaris places a premium on ensuring that its operations are sustainable and supported by its 4Cs ethic (Commerce, Community, Culture and Conservation). It is the Conservation C that inspires Wilderness Safaris to invest in maximising the positive impacts arising from its activities, while at the same time implementing measures to reduce any negative impacts.
Sustainable energy usage is therefore a natural priority for the business and great strides have been made in this arena, with 13 Wilderness Safaris camps currently operating on 100% solar power, totalling 3 840 kWh (kilowatt per hour) per day of power production. Further to this, there are 34 camps with solar-inverter or battery-inverter hybrid systems, reducing generator usage by 66%. There are also a number of camps using smaller, individual solar arrays for each guest unit or one single larger array to run the front of house only, totalling an additional 180 kWh per day of power production. In addition, the company has 879 solar geysers or solar thermodynamic geysers in place throughout its operations, further reducing the need for reliance on generators or electricity, and saving a total of 3 516 kWh a day.
“Regular geysers may typically operate for two hours a day in our camps, and usually contain a 2 kW electrical element. This means that the introduction of and ongoing conversion to solar geysers – 879 units to date – results in a saving of 4 kWh saving per day per geyser. This has translated into a substantial saving across the company of 1 283 340 kWh annually, equal to 760 tonnes of coal a year. We are extremely proud of our ongoing dedication to sustainable energy and doing whatever we can to minimise our carbon footprint. We will continue to focus on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels by using the latest technology in solar installations, whilst at the same time aiming to reduce our electrical demand in our operations”, says Warren Ozorio, Wilderness Safaris Group EMS (Environmental Management Systems) Coordinator.
When considering the energy saving generated by the use of 100% solar plants and hybrid plants, and working on six hours of energy production per day (the standard for the southern hemisphere), this works out to 119 00 kWh for 100% solar-operated camps and 16 532 kWh for those operating on hybrid plants each month. Tallying these reductions results in a combined saving of 2 934 816 kWh each year, which translates into an estimated 1 071 101 litres of diesel fuel saved on an annual basis. This is certainly a significant move away from reliance on fossil fuels, which is a key priority for Wilderness Safaris.
“Our quest to embrace sustainable energy will not stop here and plans are on track to retrofit additional camps with solar power. Our latest 100% solar camp is Qorokwe Camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. This is a 100 kW system, which equates to 600 kWh per day of power production. In addition to this, we are currently rebuilding Serra Cafema Camp in Namibia, which will become a 100% solar-powered camp, making use of a 50 kW system”, Ozorio added.