Solar Powered Eco Tourism Resort
Hidden Valley Cabins
Hidden Valley Cabins is an Australian Tourism Award winning eco resort located in northern QLD. The resort is 100% solar powered and is Australia's first carbon neutral resort and tour company.
Hidden Valley does not have power from the grid. The owners, Ian & Bonnie McLennan, have always aimed to give their guests an optimum experience and over the years have experimented with reducing the use of generators. In 1986 they installed 12 volt lighting in the cabins for guests to have lights once the generator was turned off. A battery charger was used to charge 12 batteries while the generator was running. In 1988 12 volt lighting was installed in the shop and entertainment area. This then progressed to their house in 1997 and they decided to develop a small 12 volt system that would power only a few small appliances such as lighting and television.
In 2000, a 3000-watt inverter, 2 x 24 volt battery banks, with inverters for powering larger electrical appliances, 3 x 12 volt battery banks for lighting and 4 x 80 watt solar panels were installed. At this point the generator ran for 5 hours per day and the renewable energy system ran for the rest. However, this system was neither practical nor giving their guests an optimum off-grid experience.
Hidden Valley Cabins successfully applied through the federally funded "Renewable Remote Power Generation Scheme" and in 2007, Rainbow Power Company installed a mega-stand alone solar system to run the entire resort 24 hours a day. The system consists of a 12kW Selectronic 120V interactive inverter and 90 x 130W Kyocera solar panels delivering 120 volts DC into 60 x 2V 1660Ah Raylite batteries.
Hidden Valley Cabins also created an interpretive centre for customers to explore the operational aspect of renewable energy, timelines on the development of the project and suggested ideas on how the consumer can help with the fight against climate change.
The team at Hidden Valley Cabins is committed to reducing green house gases therefore contributing to combating the effects of climate change and changing the consumer perception. This project alone will save 26 000 L of diesel or 78 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
The company has completed in-house audits following the guidelines set down by Climate Friendly to reduce all carbon emissions. After reducing all carbon based emissions Hidden Valley Cabins purchased carbon credits to offset the rest of the operational activities (e.g LPG gas is used for hot water and cooking) to make Hidden Valley Cabins and Tours the first accommodation and tour business in Australia to be Carbon Neutral.