Case Study

Sossusvlei, Namibia

Overview

The Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is situated within the &BEYOND Sossusvlei Private Desert Reserve, a vast 12,715 hectare (31,419 acres) expanse deep in the Namib, the world’s oldest living desert. Set amidst an ocean of dunes, rocky outcrops and gravel plains, the utter tranquility and extraordinary clarity of light make this area one of Africa’s most compelling landscapes.
In 2019, the property underwent a complete renovation, the result of which was a magnificent luxurious lodge in the desert. Prior to this, the lodge had used a diesel generator as its energy source. However, diesel in this area is both expensive and logistically challenging to transport. Therefore, an off-grid solar system was a welcome solution for this property that sought sophisticated sustainability.

Objective

New Southern Energy approached &BEYOND with the proposal of a solar power system to supplement the energy the lodge’s needs. This system would form part of the company’s delivery on its promise of embracing sustainability in various ways to consumers.
An off-grid solar system is not connected to the electricity grid and requires battery storage. This system would need to be designed accurately in order to generate enough power and have the necessary battery capacity to meet the lodge’s electrical energy requirements throughout the year.

Solar Solution

In order for the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge to reduce the fuel consumption of the diesel power generator, an off-grid renewable energy system was designed. Given that solar is renewable, it is not only more cost-effective but also kinder to the environment and true to the lodge’s sustainable ethic. The micro-grid system now supplies the main lodge and staff village with the least possible impact on the environment. The ingenious roof design provides optimal shade for guests plus maximum space with unobtrusive solar panels.
The 199kWp PV system consists of 604 Canadian Solar 330Wp panels which convert sun radiation into electrical energy. Two Tesla battery power packs (440kWh) are utilized to store energy and supply the grid at night. Generators (258kVA Diesel) were incorporated into the solar design to assist in cloudy weather conditions and during the evenings.
To further the site’s commitment to sustainability, combination heat pumps were installed on-site with one at each guest room, manager rooms, and one at the kitchen. A cold water supply is connected to each guest unit. The hot water outlet from the combination units is connected to the building’s hot water reticulation, with a back-up unit in place.

Team

Business Development Manager: David Masuriek
Project Manager: Ryno Bosman
Asset Manager: Brian Ssebabi

Results

The site was completed in September 2019.
All data from the grid is logged and saved in cloud-based storage.
The system has saved the site R 809 000 in its first year alone. Similar savings are expected annually in future.

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