Gondwana Collection has installed about 1667 solar panels, with 21 grid feeders on rooftops of its Namib Desert Lodge chalets.
According to the company, 100kW per hour will be generated, depending on the hours of sunshine, with approximately 750 to 800kW per day.
The public relations officer, Inke Stoldt, says; “Our target is to generate 200 000kWh of electricity per year and cover 50% of the lodge collection’s needs”.
The company’s pilot project, she adds, was a first in the Namibian tourism sector and in southern Africa’s hospitality industry.
“In the oldest desert on earth, hardly a day goes by without sunshine but a solar power plant of this size has never before been taken into operation under extreme desert conditions. If the one-year trial run proves successful, the solar project will be continued at our lodges in Gondwana Canyon Park. In the long term, we intend to equip all our lodges with solar panels,” she says.
Last year, Namib Desert Lodge, Canyon Roadhouse, Canyon Village and Canyon Lodge received the highest seal of quality, five desert flowers, from the environmental initiative, Eco Awards Namibia.
According to Gondwana Collection, it has scored important points with its water recycling plants, which provide irrigation for the gardens, reducing water consumption by more than half.
Furthermore, the lodges’ waste disposable has also earned them points, as their waste is sorted, glass is crushed and tins are pressed, before being transported to a recycling collection plant.
First National Bank (FNB) Global United team, last week visited the lodge as part of its two-day desert tour where the legendary footballers were shown its gardening, water recycling and solar panel initiatives.
FNB Global United Climate for 2014 recently kicked off in the capital, with the theme ‘Let’s Use Our Resources Wisely’. One of its objectives was to ensure a maximum coverage of core environmental messages in Namibia with particular emphasis on the country’s two deserts.
FNB Global United Climate Kick initiative seeks to bring about a greater understanding of the impact of climate change on the environment and the importance of environmental education and awareness in Namibia. It has been running for three years with FNB Namibia being its sponsor, with a total contribution of N$350 000 per annum.
Martin Driller, one of FNB Global United soccer legends who played pro-football for Borussia Dortmund, FC St Pauli, FC Numberg, FC Ingostadt, was amazed with what Gondwana has achieved in terms of alternative energy, saying; “This is definitely the way to go. In Germany, I also produce alternative energy and sell it to the national grid. In our country, alternative energy is big. Even normal households try to have a few panels to assist the national grid and in turn, they are rewarded by the German government. I must commend Namibia on what has been done so far by the NBL, Gondwana, Woermann Brock, Super Spar and hope much more will be done in future. We need to use our natural resources wisely and Namibia has more than enough sun to do just that in terms of solar power.”