In May 2019 Orpheus Island Lodge installed 810 gleaming solar panels on the hill behind the lodge.
We hoped the 300kW array would be able to provide up to 80% of our electricity needs, requiring the generator to be turned on for only a few hours each day.
Once the panels started producing renewable power for Orpheus, we quickly realised they were providing over 90% of our electricity needs, and with some tweaks to our daily habits on the island, we could be 100% renewably-powered, without compromising the barefoot luxuries that our guests seek.
By being smart about things like running the laundry in the middle of day when we have excess solar power, we have been able to reduce the amount of battery power being used at night and have just completed our first week with 100% solar power.
The first and most noticeable benefit of being 100% renewably-powered is what you can’t hear.
Orpheus Island Lodge solar array
“There is no longer the background hum of the generator, meaning guests to our island hideaway can focus on the sound of water lapping gently onto the fringing shore, the splash of baby blacktip reef sharks playing in the shallows of the bay and the honking calls of the white-bellied sea eagles soaring high above the lodge,”
Chrissie Williams, General Manager, Orpheus Island Lodge
Additionally, we are excited that the project has allowed us to save almost 600L of fuel a day that would have run the generator, which has so far avoided more than 60 tonnes of carbon emissions (the equivalent of 14 cars off the road for a whole year)!
The solar panels were installed as part of the Queensland Government’s Great Barrier Reef Island Resorts Rejuvenation Fund, which has allowed Orpheus Island Lodge to fast track sustainability plans to reduce our impact on the environment and increase our contribution to a more sustainable tourism industry.
Being 100% renewably-powered incorporates into the wider sustainability ethos of Orpheus Island Lodge, which includes a veggie patch and fruit trees which provide our chefs with a constant supply of fresh produce, providing our guests with keepsake reusable water bottles and removing plastic straws to ensure less plastic waste, supporting the Australian Marine Conservation Society in their ‘Good Fish’ project by championing sustainable seafood and encouraging guests to take part in beach clean-ups to remove and prevent marine debris.
The Great Barrier Reef is a globally significant ecosystem that we are so lucky to have as our backyard and it needs our protection through action on climate change. This is something that we work towards every day through reducing energy use, switching to non-fossil fuel energy sources, and offsetting emissions we cannot avoid.