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Harnessing the sun and safari experience

The renovation of the luxury Cheetah Plains Lodge in the heart of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park provided the ideal opportunity for the owners to double down on its ambition to become fully sustainable.

This interview was originally published in African Power & Energy Elites 2021.

In particular, the energy supply was – quite literally – a burning issue. Cheetah Plains Lodge was served by a single-phase grid supply from the national utility Eskom, which was both unreliable and insufficient to meet the demand for the facility’s systems and guests. On one occasion, drastic voltage fluctuations eventually led to a burnt-out transformer.

Moreover, the supply was supplemented with a diesel genset, which was both noisy and costly to run in addition to its fossil-fuel requirement.

The decision was made to abandon this single-phase supply and become energy independent with a more powerful three-phase solar plus storage microgrid system and upgraded diesel generator for backup power support only.

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