SMA Helps Power Cook Islands Resort

A 101kW off grid solar panel system is now providing 100% of Muri Beach Resort’s electricity needs.

Situated on the tropical islet of Ta’akoka in the Cook Islands, Muri Beach Resort is the first resort in the Islands to be powered entirely by the sun.

According to EcoGeneration, the off-grid system consists of 101.5 kW of solar panels, 18 SMA solar inverters and a large deep cycle battery bank.

Other green efforts by the resort including an aerated sewerage treatment system that treats the wastewater to a point it can then be used on resort gardens.

The resort also has edible gardens to supply organic fruit, vegetables and herbs to the restaurant and shared with the guests; keeps pigs that deal with all food waste and refrains from using cleaning products that contain phosphates as these can have a detrimental effect on lagoon waters.

The Cook Islands comprises 15 small islands with a total land area of 240 square kilometres. Raratonga, situated 3,380 km northeast of New Zealand, is the largest island with the greatest population (est. 17,794 in 2011).

The Cook Islands sources the majority of its power via fossil fuels (98.9% of total installed capacity – 2009 est. CIA Factbook); much of that in the form of diesel fuel – it’s expensive and carbon intensive.

The potential impacts of climate change; driven by increasing carbon emissions, weigh heavily on the Islands.

According to Deyna Marsh, Education and Awareness Coordinator for the Cook Islands National Environment Services,  “Changes are already happening. Sea levels are rising all around the Pacific… If nothing is done now, we will lose our Islands, our traditions, our culture. Buildings and infrastructure on the foreshore will be lost or damaged, and both food security and the health of the people will be affected.”

The Cook Islands government has set a goal of generating 50% of its electricity requirements from renewable energy sources by 2015 and 100% by 2020.