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Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve’s Evolution: A Solar Event

Since its inception, in 1988, Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve has always valued and upheld environmentally friendly practices. From preserving the natural landscape, protecting the indigenous and endemic wildlife, and offering an eco-centric hospitality experience to guests. Their core mission has always been centred on developing their green initiatives and sourcing improved methodologies for a sustainable future in this beautiful space.

Continuing in this mission, Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve unveiled a new Solar Power Farm on their property in November of 2022. The new solar farm provides sustainably sourced electricity to the entire Lodge, meaning that the property is officially off-grid and is no longer reliant on resources that negatively impact climate change.

The solar farm itself is large and powerful enough to sustain all the Lodge’s needs and is coupled with a fuel-powered back-up generator that can maintain the power supply during the rainy season, meaning that Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve will never need to be serviced by the local municipality. The set-up is that of a 356kWp (kilowatts peak) DC Solar Array with 300kW (kilowatt) Hybrid Inverters, 1200kWh (kilowatt-hours) Lithium Battery Storage and a 400kVA (kilovolt-amps) Generator. It is ground mounted and north-facing and all 648 of the panels were perfectly positioned through a series of carefully planned engineering tests to maximise the sun’s surface contact with the panels throughout the day, while taking into consideration the changing seasons. The total DC generation capacity of the system is between 350 and 360 kWp that refers to its maximum generation potential during optimal (sunny) conditions. To put these figures into perspective, this same solar energy system could effectively supply power to 50 average-sized family homes. At present, the solar farm supplies sufficient energy to 13 Chalets, 15 Lodge Suites, 26 Staff Homes, as well as the Reception, Restaurant, Bar, Spa, Laundry, and Communal Areas, though provision has been made for potential future expansion of the Lodge. The construction itself further speaks to Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve’s conservation programme, as the whole system can easily be disassembled and relocated or removed entirely, without affecting the land. To ensure that Lodge operations can continue as normal, and that guests remain comfortable, during extended periods of rain or cloudy weather, Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve incorporated a back-up generator system into the new design, as well.

At the official unveiling of the solar power farm, Chairperson of the Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve board, Niel de Waal, said; “As custodians of the reserve, we have a responsibility to minimise our environmental footprint. This new solar plant, which provides all of our energy requirements, is one of the last building blocks to make us truly green, sustainable and eco-friendly. We believe that sustainable tourism is incredibly important for the continued development of the tourism industry in South Africa and, as the stewards of this reserve, we have a duty to minimise the environmental impact of sharing this unique experience with our guests.”

The solar farm project aligns perfectly with Kagga Kamma’s mission towards being a true eco-lodge, and functions alongside their many other environmentally friendly practises, such as the use of green amenities in-room and as part of their housekeeping services, the replacement of plastic straws with biodegradable ones, and the introduction of glass bottles in-room for guests. Their efforts towards sustainability continue and this major project has only enhanced those methodologies for the Cederberg-based Lodge.

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