Windpomp

Kammarieb Private Reserve is virtually self-sufficient in its own renewable energy generation.  The exception is a small amount of LP gas used for indoor cooking.  Kammarieb relies on its energy supply from three key renewable resources ~

  • solar
  • wind
  • wood burning

  

Power system 2

Solar power is provided through a 1 500 Watt solar panel installation.  In the sunny Karoo, this installation provides more than 4kWatt.hr of electricity on most days.  Farmers in the Karoo have for more than a century relied on wind energy to pump water for domestic use and for stock water.  Anyone travelling through the Karoo will witness the countless number of windmills in operation for this purpose.  In fact, the image of a windmill is synonomous with the Karoo!  This widespread use of windenergy is due to the fact that the Karoo is fairly windy.  At Kammarieb, our solar power is supplemented through a 1 000 Watt wind turbine.  

Electricity generated is stored in a battery bank providing around 10kWatt.hr storage.  All electricity on Kammarieb Private Reserve is provided through this system.  A 15 KVA standby generator is still installed but has not been used for many years!

This electricity supply is used for lighting, refrigeration, driving all telecommunications systems and the swimming pool pump as well as other occasional appliances.  Consumption is limited to 2 kWatt - this means that appliances such as hairdryers, clothing irons etc. is off-limits!

Solar power usage on Kammarieb is not limited to electricity supply for the chalets and central entertainment unit, we also rely on solar power for all water supply.  Two separate installations of 220 Watts each pump borehole water to reservoirs from where it is distributed for domestic use and to water holes for our game. 

The third energy source used at Kammarieb is wood.  Sceptics may frown about using wood burning as a primary energy source in a dry and arid area such as the Karoo but the key to this is a truly remarkable tree: the Sweet Thorn or Acacia Karroo as it is aptly named scientifically.  The Sweet Thorn is one of the most common and widespread trees in Southern Africa but it is in the drier areas such as the Karoo that it is of immeasurable value.  Due to its extensive root system this tree will thrive where little else will survive.  Not only that, but its rapid growth rate sometimes defies logic.  Due to this it is a pioneering plant that often tends to “invade” disturbed areas - but this is definitely not an invader in the negative sense of the word.  Its extensive root system is of course an excellent counter against soil erosion.  More importantly, the Sweet Thorn is a specie that releases nitrogen into the ground thus enriching its surrounds and providing fertile ground for new species to grow.  In the rainy season on Kammarieb it is wonderful to see climax grasses grow and thrive beneath the Sweet Thorn trees.  For browsers, the Sweet Thorn is one of the most palatable trees and in winter months it drops its pods that are rich in proteins.  Vervet monkeys can live entirely from Acacia Karroo alone. They eat its leaves, flowers, bark, and especially the delicious gum that the tree produces.   Whenever it is in bloom you will find the bees buzzing around and it makes the most delicious honey.  Despite its rapid growth rate, the tree produces high-density wood (800-890 kg/m³).  But then, after two or three decades the tree dies.  Its rotting timber attracts lots of insects which provides food for birds and various mammals such as the small bat-eared fox.  It is this abundant source of hardwood that is also used for cooking, heating and generating hot water on Kammarieb.