Looking for a Solar-Powered Vacation? Check out Turtle Island.

by Anna Gretz
July 27, 2016
Off-The-Grid

It’s halfway through summer, and you need a vacation.

(Don’t argue. You know you do.) If you’re looking for a way to merge your love and respect for renewable energy and your intense need for relaxation, look no further than Turtle Island Resort in Figi.

Turtle Island Resort was one of the first resorts ever to be fully powered by solar energy. This, in itself, is both very impressive, and incredibly cool. The really impressive part about this is, the resort staff can do this without sacrificing any of its services or amenities. Turtle Island Resort is an all-inclusive luxury facility with all of the relaxing, adventurous, and delicious components of the best resorts in the world. The only difference is, while you’re soaking up the sun, the resort’s solar panels are, too. All this was made possible by Richard Evanson, the owner of Turtle Island, and a sustainability visionary.

“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,” Evanson said in an interview about Turtle Island’s solar installation. “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.”

Here are the details about this solar project Evanson is taling about:

In total, Turtle Island installed an impressive array of 968 solar panels. All of these panels combined are able to produce 1 megawatt of power a day. This is amazing. To put it in perspective, 1 megawatt is enough power to cover all of the power needs of the entire island. Though we hear it’s almost always sunny in Figi, Turtle Island does have a back-up generator on hand, just in case they hit an unusually cloudy day. Even during these darker days, however, the solar panels can still generate enough energy to cover 85% of the island’s electricity needs. This is awesome energy efficiency, and sets a very high bar for other resorts around the world. I

It also saves Turtle Island, as well as the environment, a lot of wear, tear, and diesel. The new solar installation reduced carbon emissions on the island by 220 tons a year. It also eliminated the need for 85,000 liters of diesel oil every year. Turtle Island’s new carbon footprint is revolutionary, but this isn’t the extent of the resort’s eco-friendly efforts. While building the resort, the crew sourced most of the materials from the islands of Figi, including all of the lumber composing the beautifully vaulted ceilings of each bungalow. When Richard Evanson said that Turtle Island was committed to sustainability, he meant it.

As far as Turtle Island resort goes to minimize negative impact, it goes even further to make a positive impact on the land and people surrounding the resort grounds. Turtle Island, especially during the construction of the new solar panel array, provided many new jobs and experience in the up-and-coming field of solar installation. Evanson has also worked to re-forest the island by planting over half a million trees, 100,000 of which are mahogany. Then he kept going. Evanson has gone to great lengths to promote ecological diversity, prevent soil erosion, and create wind breaks. Turtle Island Resort stands to build up the life on the island and make it more beautiful, instead of clear it out, or tear it down.

Even before Turtle Island Resort flipped the switch on its solar panels, it was named Green Hotelier of the Year. But that’s not the only award it has received. The resort was also named the most romantic beach in Figi. Remember when we told you that Turtle Island didn’t have to skimp on luxuries to go solar? We meant it. The resort only hosts 28 couples at a time, and boasts that it has 14 private beaches. Yes, you did the math right. That’s a private beach for each couple (suddenly, the “most romantic beach” award makes a lot of sense…) Resort guests can enjoy the azure ocean waters by swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, and fishing, making sure to take breaks in between to enjoy fresh seafood sourced from local waters, and fruits and vegetables grown right on the island.

Everything about Turtle Island Resort is focused on renewable resources and sustainability, without sacrificing any of the amenities that attract vacation-goers to tropical resorts. Here’s to hoping that more resorts worldwide will follow the excellent example set by Turtle Island, and move toward a more sustainable tourism industry. Next stop? Energy Storage.