Turtle Island Resort in Fiji Announces Plans to become almost 100% Solar

Turtle Island resort in Fiji is currently undergoing a major project on the island that will result in the resort becoming almost completely self-sufficient in terms of energy production.  A total of 968 solar panels are being installed on the island, both on the ground and some to be raised on roofs, to complete the biggest construction project the island has ever seen.  At its completion in November of 2012, the resort will be running on 89% solar power, more than any other resort in Fiji.

“At Turtle Island we have a long history of sustainability. For 32 years we’ve tried to impact the environment as little as possible,” said Richard Evanson, owner of Turtle Island. “This solar project has long been a goal for us and we’re very proud to finally see it come to fruition.”

Turtle Island is situated in the Yasawa Chain of islands, and sits approximately 50 miles North of mainland Fiji (island of Viti Levu).  The Yasawa chain, like most outlaying islands of Fiji, is not connected to the Government operated power network run by FEA (Fiji Electricity Authority). Because of this, each island has to generate their own power and the cheapest (and most common way) to do this is through the use of diesel generators.  By going solar Turtle Island will save an estimated 127,000 liters of diesel fuel per year, significantly reducing their carbon footprint.

To achieve 100% solar power would actually result in wasted power and not as efficient a system, so the carefully thought out project was capped at 89% solar power.  The solar project, which has provided additional jobs to surrounding villagers, is estimated to pay for itself after only 4 to 6 years from when it begins.

Turtle Island has long been a leader in sustainable tourism.  Owner Richard Evanson purchased Turtle Island in 1972 and has worked to preserve the rich biodiversity, provide the Island with a 90% tree canopy and to protect the cultural integrity of the indigenous Fijian population occupying the surrounding islands.  Due to the environmental fragility of the island and Evanson’s commitment to sustainability, Turtle Island’s access use will always be limited to only 14 couples.  Arrangements are in place to ensure preservation of the island’s natural habitats, and the integrity of the Fijan culture.  Through an intensive reforestation program, over 500,000 trees, 100,000 of which are Mahogany, have been planted on the island in the last 32 years.  The trees encourage ecological diversity, re-establish indigenous forests, prevent soil erosion, create windbreaks and add to the natural beauty on the island.  Other projects promoting sustainablility include a four-acre organic and hydroponic garden, extensive composting and recycling, and use of green energy including wind and solar generation.

Evanson has also been responsible for creating 150 new jobs in the area through his work as a social entrepreneur.  He has built two budget resorts, which are now owned by local villages. Turtle management assists in the operations and marketing of these resorts on a skills-transfer basis.

For more information or to make a reservation call Turtle Island at 1-877-2-TURTLE (1-877-288-7853) or visit www.turtlefiji.com <http://www.turtlefiji.com/> .