Hluleka nature reserve is on the East Coast of South Africa about 20 km south of Port St Johns in the Wild Coast. The reserve is very popular for its fishing, wildlife and naturalbeauty.
It has 12 chalets that is available for tourists, an office and staff quarters.
The reserve were supplied with power by two 75 kW Diesel generators, one of which is out of commission. The high operating cost of the diesel generators, the unreliable maintenance, and the pollution it generates made it unacceptable.
To solve this the reserve had to be converted to minimize its energy consumption and then to generate this energy from environmental friendly solar and wind power.
1) The electric stoves were replaced with modern gas stoves.
2) The electric hot water geysers were replaced with solar water heaters that is assisted by intelligent gas geysers that boost the water temperature only when necessary
3) All the lights were replaced with energy saving bulbs.
4) A solar array consisting of 65 * 100W solar modules were erected as well as 2 * 3 KW wind chargers.
At Hluleka Shell S100-b panels were used. There is a single PV array, consisting of 56 panels generating 600v DC, which is converted by three inverters to 230v 50Hz. They are located in close proximity to the two 2.5kW wind generators. In sunny and/or windy conditions, a special inverter/charger feeds 230 volts AC into the electric cables that feed into the camp (mini grid). The same device guarantees the same voltage output for consumption in the camp. Batteries provide 5 days reserve electricity in the case of no wind and little sun. The batteries and the inverters are housed in the control cabin near the solar panels. The final back up is a diesel generator that will be started up when necessary.
Batteries, wind chargers, solar panels and power consumption are monitored by control equipment. These data are transmitted via a radio-based telephone and the Telkom network to a central computer where the data is then available on an Internet site. This allows Shell Solar to monitor the site 24 hours a day.