On 7 March 2012, following an investment of $860,000, Mombo Camp officially switched over from diesel-powered generators to renewable solar energy.
Since the announcement, plaudits have been rolling in for what is most likely Botswana’s largest solar array and the news has sped excitedly around the Wilderness staff family both in Botswana as well as other parts of Africa. According to Group Sustainability Director, Derek de la Harpe, “Wilderness will not build another camp without incorporating a major element of renewable energy. At the same time we have embarked on an ambitious retrofitting process with Mombo now joining Xigera, Kalahari Plains, Banoka Bush Camp and Zarafa as being 100% solar powered. Over the course of 2012 we anticipate completing this process for at least another three camps, the rebuilt DumaTau among them.”
The Mombo solar array consists of 396 photovoltaic panels of 230W each, with 194 batteries. This equates to a 91 kilowatt array that produces in excess of 450kWh per day. In addition 30 solar geysers have reduced the need for fossil fuel usage even further meaning that the risk (and carbon footprint) of delivering fuel to Mombo across the fragile Okavango Delta is even further mitigated.
In simple terms this means that reduction in expected carbon emissions for Mombo over 2012 are of the order of 97%! We thus expect to emit only 6.5 tonnes of CO₂ equivalents over the course of 2012 compared to 215 tonnes during 2011.
As Wilderness Safaris Botswana MD, Grant Woodrow, said at an announcement in Maun, “This has been a mammoth task, and many contractors and Wilderness staff need to be congratulated for taking this bold financial step and getting the job done. Pula!”
Story and photos courtesy Wilderness Safaris and Mike Myers