Monday, June 17, 2019

Environment

Maldives: A Solar Future for “The Best Hotel in the World” as Gili Lankanfushi Goes Renewable

A Maldives private island resort recently voted as TripAdvisor’s “Best Hotel in the World” is showing its green credentials after investing in the region’s largest floating solar panel.

  • Gili Lankanfushi has teamed up with Austrian company Swimsol in order to bring a more sustainable future to the Maldives Republic
  • The luxury resort has invested in a huge, floating solar power system which is hoped to reduce its carbon footprint by an incredible 35 tonnes per year
  • Weighing in at 5 tonnes and with a size of 15 x 15 metres, the unit forms the Maldives’ largest floating solar panel
Gili Lankanfushi - Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

Gili Lankanfushi – Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

Award-winning private island resort Gili Lankanfushi has announced a partnership with Swimsol, an Austrian company that specializes in ground-breaking floating power solutions. The decision to work together came about as part of the island hideaway’s continuing efforts to improve energy efficiency and lower its carbon footprint.

The Maldives’ Largest Floating Solar Panel

The resort has invested in a huge, floating solar power system which, at 15 x 15 metres, not only forms the largest floating solar panel to operate in the Maldives, but also forms Swimsol’s most ambitious project to date, consisting of 112 individual solar panels, a network of glass fibre tubes and a sturdy aluminium frame designed to withstand waves and water turbulence.

Weighing in at an incredible 5 tonnes, it took nearly the Gili Lankanfushi team a backbreaking two weeks to assemble the panels and ultimately get them into the water. Yet according to Deborah Burn, Gili Lankanfushi’s dedicated Marine Biologist & Environmental Officer, the efforts will certainly be worthwhile.

Cutting the Carbon Footprint by 35 Tonnes per Year

The solar platform has a nominal capacity of 28 KW and on sunny days it will be able to produce up to 200 kWh of energy – enough to power all of Gili Lankanfushi’s pathway and jetty lights, as well as the Main Office Building lighting for as long as 12 hours per day. And after just less than a month of operations, the resort is already reaping the benefits.

“This is the largest floating solar panel structure to be plugged in in the Maldives. We are incredibly proud to participate in finding ways forward into a more sustainable future” said Burn, explaining that the platform will reduce the resort’s carbon footprint by 35 tonnes of CO2 per year, which is the equivalent to the emissions of 30 return flights from Europe to Maldives.

Gili Lankanfushi's Solar Panel - Photo Courtesy of HotelierMaldives.com

Gili Lankanfushi’s Solar Panel – Photo Courtesy of HotelierMaldives.com

An Engineering Marvel

A member of the Swimsol team explained how the innovative panel design allows for more efficient energy production. “The beauty of having your solar panels floating in the water [as opposed to on stationary on land], is that there’s no shading. Optimal performance is ensured at all times.”

“Another benefit is optimized direction and inclination. On a rooftop you are bound by the existing construction, but with [floating solar panels], you can optimize your energy output to meet the peak demands of the day. The third benefit is cooler panels. Rooftops collect heat, which builds up underneath the panel. By being raised slightly above the water, the panels stay cooler, allowing for more efficient energy production. It’s truly the next step in solar energy.”

A More Sustainable Future for the Maldives?

After witnessing the success of this partnership, Swimsol is now confident that they can bring their innovative brand of green power to other parts of the world, too. “When considering solar energy it is important to keep in mind that the more space is dedicated to the installation then the more power can be made,” explained a Swimsol spokesperson. “The floating units are there ideal for places like the Maldives, where land space is limited.”

The Vienna-based company is said to be in talks to further their revolutionary solar power project. Private Island News will keep a keen eye on any developments.

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