Best of the Maldives: Largest Floating Solar System – LUX South Ari Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - floating solar system 1

LUX South Ari Atoll floating solar farm is using the sea to save the sea. Exploiting the expansive areas of sun-drenched waters, their floating solar system is the not just the Maldives’ largest, but the world’s largest:

  • “This unique technology called SolarSea gathers solar energy directly on the ocean to power the island in an eco-friendly fashion. As part of the resort’s commitment to sustainability, LUX* South Ari Atoll has pledged to minimize carbon dioxide emissions. To achieve this goal, the five-star luxury resort partnered with the leading solar provider Swimsol, an Austrian-Maldivian company, which provided a solution to overcome the limited space available for solar panels on small tropical islands. Consequently, Swimsol developed the first and only patented floating solar system that is designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the waves, storms and saltwater…The resort is already using a rooftop system with the same solar company. Once all suitable roofs were covered with solar panels, the resort decided to expand beyond the shoreline with twelve SolarSea platforms. Thereby the solar capacity increased by 40% and reached 678 kWp, enough to power all guest villas with solar energy during the peak sun hours. The result is cheaper energy and a saving of more than 260,000 litres of diesel per year that previously were needed to produce the same amount of electricity with combustion engines.”

Sunny days to un-warm the ocean.

LUX South Ari Atoll - floating solar system 2

Best of the Maldives: Solar Building – Kudadoo

Kudadhoo - solar 1

The roof over Kudadoo’s over water pavilion sets a new standard for solar ambition. The Champa resorts keep upping the bar on the solar investment across their estate after their snaking jetty of panels at neighbouring Hurawalhi. The 320-kWp solar system generates enough electricity to power the entire resort:

“Committed to your well-being and that of the planet, Kudadoo reinvents sustainability – we take pride on the island being powered by the sun 100%, and on eco-conscious choices that intertwine the design, conceived by the architectural mastermind Yuji Yamazaki, and adventures to create a luxury experience that threads lightly.”

With all of these energy sustainability investments in the country, I’ve add a new “Solar” tag for all of the sun powered initiatives in this sun-drenched destination.

Kudadoo - solar 2

Best of the Maldives: Eco-Welcome – Club Med Finolhu

Club Med Finolhu - solar panels 1

Welcome to the future!

Maldives has been introducing a range of eco-sustainable initiatives, but Club Med Finolhu Villas actually introduces you to their resort with an imposing eco-investment – a solar panel jetty.

In a part of the world with so little real estate but so much sunshine, the pressing question is ‘where do you find the space to put solar cells.’ Well, resorts face the same question for their villas and the answer has been, something the Maldives has plenty of, over the water. So their welcome jetty and their water villa jetties are rooved with large solar arrays. It’s not only eco-friendly, but it’s a great way to provide a shaded walkway (no more burning your toes on hot timber) and has a stylish design flair to boot.

The resort describes the initiatives as…

First ever 100 percent solar-powered high-end resort, developed by Global Pvt Ltd. Nearly 6,500 square meters of the resort, which will be operated by Club Med, feature solar panels capable of producing up to 1100 Kilowatts at power peak when the island really only needs around 600 Kilowatts at peak load.”

One of the things that I have decided to add to the Resort Profiles after this tour is a picture of the “Welcome Jetty”. It is a feature that does vary dramatically from resort to resort. I don’t think that prospective guests will choose their resort on it, but I think it is one of those details that provides a glimpse into the style and character of the property. Club Med Finolhu Villas certainly stands out in this regard with a greeting of style and innovation.

Club Med Finolhu - solar panels 2

Best of the Maldives: Aqua-Solar Power – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - floating solar panels

Earth Hour today.

“As the world stands at a climate crossroads, it is powerful yet humbling to think that our actions today will decide what tomorrow will look like for generations to come. This Earth Hour, ​switch on your social power​ to shine a light on climate action. This is our time to #ChangeClimateChange…our future starts today.”

One of my favourite Earth-friendly initiatives in the Maldives is Gili Lankanfushi’s floating solar panels. One of the challenges to solar power is finding a place to put the surface-area driven collectors. Not a problem in the middle of a desert. But in a densely populated location a bit tricky. Some have tried putting them on roofs. What the Maldives do have is lots of water. And so Gili’s solution is so fitting. It’s sort of a floating solar lilo.

“Gili Lankanfushi is happy to announce its partnership with Swimsol, an Austrian company that specializes in groundbreaking floating solar power solutions. Their idea is to bring green power to parts of the World, like the Maldives, where land space is limited. We are lucky enough to have Swimsol’s largest product so far; a 15 x 15 metre floating solar power platform. The platform itself is an engineering marvel; an innovative floating structure that is designed to survive waves and water turbulence. It consists of glass fibre tubes, aluminum frames and 112 solar panels. Weighing over 5 tonnes, it took nearly one third of Gili Lankanfushi’s hosts to push it into the water. Today after more than two weeks of hard work in the blistering heat of the dry season, the Swimsol team have plugged the largest floating solar platform in the Maldives into Gili Lankanfushi’s power grid. Swimsol’s platform has a nominal capacity of 28 KW and on sunny days it will produce up to 200 kWh, which is enough to power the equivalent of all our pathway and jetty lights, as well as the Front Office lighting for 12 hours! The platform will reduce our carbon footprint by 35 tonnes of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to the emissions of 30 return flights from Europe to Maldives per person!””

(thanks Paola)

Best of the Maldives: Solar Powered – Soneva Fushi

Solar Panels
In honour of 
Soneva Fushi’s hosted Eco Conference taking place this week (if you go to their micro-site, you can find a number of press releases about some of the content), I thought that I would call out yet another distinctive for Soneva on the same eco theme.

Maldives have long been the poster child for environmental awareness and initiatives. The latest tactic in battling global warming that has gotten a big profile is solar with the President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed donned hard hat and tools and personally helped installed solar panels for his official residence.

But no one in the Maldives is going bigger on solar than Soneva

“Soneva Fushi, Six Senses’ flagship resort, has installed a 70kW solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant system that has achieved eight months of successful operation. It is the largest renewable energy plant currently operating in the Maldives, a country that has brought international attention to the issue of global warming and rising sea levels.”