Gavin Hobson(SSS)gives a quick walkthrough of the installed system at African Game Lodge

African Game Lodge, having no grid-support made use of SSS (Specialized Solar Systems) off-grid energy consultants to advise on energisation efficiency and some practical sustainable solutions for this large animal release rehabilitation centre that required off-grid electrification for their main lodge, kitchens, guests cottages, restaurant, reception area, etc.

SSS  installed and upgraded all the energy systems for the entire complex and currently these systems have proven to be hassle-free and completely self-sufficient.


Steve Irwin, great conservationist once said that the lack of wilderness would be the biggest challenge to conservation. "If you do anything, buy up land", he said over and over when interviewed. And this has come to pass. Wilderness gives way to urbanisation, plains transformed into pastures and intensive crops. One of the biggest factors contributing to the decline of many species throughout the world, is loss of habitat.Amongst this backdrop, Tenikwa Rehabilitation Centre accepts injured and displaced wild animals for rehabilitation, treating them and when ready, returning them to nature where they belong. Or sadly, once belonged. Increasingly, finding safe havens to return the animals is becoming harder to find. Hotspots where intense farming, agriculture and urban fringes cast wild animals out and claim their heritage. Its simply futile to return them to these areas of conflict.
Enter African Game Lodge, Tenikwa's latest conservation project. A 4300 hectare private reserve set amongst the spectacular mountainous karoo scenery and home to the dwindling remaining 9% of the renosterveld.  Through their philosophy of Rehabilitation, Awareness and Biodiversity preservation, African Game Lodge completes the conservation sphere.

African Game Lodge will be utilised as a pre-release preparation site, a release site for appropriate species and most importantly an important part of a vast wilderness area, set aside for conservation where guests can enjoy the rugged beauty of the area but also witness a conservation project in action.

Some images from SSS off-grid installation at African Game Lodge


Main Lodge HardwareIMG 0444

Average daily system input from Solar panels 8Kwh Solar Control Unit 100 amp Microcare MPPT. Peak Capacity 3kva Continuous with a 6 Kva Spike ( Utilised Victron 24V Multiplus inverter and have also installed a Victron Battery Monitor. Battery Storage we have utilised Millenium 2V 1050 a/h Batteries( 12 in total ) Giving you storage of 25kwh so the system has 3 days autonomy). This system has a victron 24v-12V converter to run the lighting circuits directly from DC

  • 2x defy bd260 fridge freezers existing would use on average 1.4 Kwh per day according to the defy spec sheet
  • 7 x wall lights
  • 1x centre light
  • 6x down lighters
  • 6x outside lights
  • 4x bathroom lights
  • Kitchen Lights LED 4ft Flourescant replacement 15Watts
  • Lighting would use on average if we took all into account and put there usage at 8 hours per day 696 watts per day
  • TV and DSTV on 8 hours per day aprox 1000 watts per day if you have a new LCD or LED TV that uses aprox
  • 100 watts per hour.
  • Wireless router would use max 15 watts per hour so 360 watts per 24 hour period
  • 2 points for laptops call it both points for 5 hours per day so max 750 watts per day

Total of 6.136 Kwh Per day

Main Lodge Power System

  • 8 x 235 watt Solar Panels will deliver 8 Kwh per day  
  • 1x Victron 3000/24v Inverter charger  
  • 1x 100 amp MPPT charge controller
  • 12x 1050 A/h 2V millennium Batteries ( 10 – 15 year) lIfe span ( storage capacity 25.2 Kwh of which you will be using on average only 8kwh per day but this will give 1 full days back up)
  • Battery Monitor
  • 1x 24V to 12V DC DC Converter for Lighting Circuit Victron Orion 17 amp unit

Reception: Calculated on all appliances 10 hours per day and freezer 24/7

  • 2x laptops 75 watts each per Hour ( 1500 watts per day)
  • 1x printer 250 watts ( only turn on when need printing done)
  • 1x credit card machine Minimal I would estimate it uses about 5 watts so call it 120 watts per day
  • +- 5 Lights @ average 3 watts 10 hours per day 150 watts
  • Chest freezer ( would again recommend AEG) as per lodge freezer 553 watts per day

Reception System

Average Daily Input 4 Kwh per day Solar Control Unit 100 amp Microcare MPPT. Victron 1.6Kva Inverter Charger and Victron Battery Monitor. Battery Storage 9 Kwh ( average daily Use 3 kwh ) 2.5 to 3 days autonomy 750 a/h 2V Millenium Cells

  • 2x solar panel pier support frames
  • 6x 750 a/h 2V Millenium batteries ( 10-15 year life span)
  • 1x 100 amp MPPT charge controller
  • 1x Battery Monitor
  • 1x Victron 12V 1600 VA inverter charger

Cottages 7 x 2 bedroom units and 1x 1 bedroom unit
2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom for each cabin all that will be required is to run 5 ceiling /wall lights and 4 bedside /freestanding lamps 9 lights @ 8 hours per day 216 watts  and either existing fridge freezers or equivalent size DC model

Cottage SYSTEM

Average daily Input from Solar Panels 1 kwh solar control unit 20 amp Microcare MPPT. Full DC system for lighting and refridgeration ( We also supplied DC fridges). Battery Capacity 2.7 Kwh  2 days autonomy.

  • 1 x235 watt panel
  • 1 x solar panel Pier Supports awaiting cost from supplier
  • 1x 20 amp MPPT
  • 2x 102 a/h Battery
  • Controller housing box and DC Fused DB Box
  • DC fridge


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