As part of Earth Week, we are saluting the hotels all around the world that are making changes to implement sustainable practices and tools to protect the earth and help their properties run more efficiently. But few can say that they are nearly fully powered by solar energy. However, the Turtle Island Resort in Fiji has that distinction. The luxury retreat began the installation of 968 solar panels last year, and the panels now provide an average of 85 percent solar power to the property.
“At Turtle Island we have a long history of sustainability. For over 30 years we’ve tried to impact the environment as little as possible,” said Richard Evanson, owner of Turtle Island. “This solar project has long been a goal for us and we’re very proud to finally see it come to fruition for the benefit of our guests and for the environment.”
The installation produces one mega watt of power a day, enough to cover 100 percent of the power needs of the island on a sunny day. Even on rainy or cloudy days, the backup generator reduces the total solar power to about 85 percent, maintaining outstanding energy efficiency. The solar installation has also provided numerous jobs to surrounding villagers.
The project is expected to save an estimated 85,000 liters of diesel fuel per year, or an estimated 220 tons of carbon emissions, significantly reducing the island’s carbon footprint.
Since purchasing the property in 1972, Everson has strived to make Turtle Island a sustainable destination. He conducted an intensive reforestation program over the past 3 decades and planted 900,000 trees on the island, 100,000 of which are mahogany.
Although many hotels won’t be able to implement such an extensive solar project, there are plenty of properties that can take Evanson’s lead in looking for ways to reduce costs and emissions through solar energy.