The management team at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel recently announced the installation of 364 solar panels. The hotel powered by solar energy is expected to produce up to 50,000 KW per year, contributing to a net loss of over 20 tons of gas emissions, a measure some view as just the beginning.
The solar panels will generate over 50% of the hotel’s electricity requirements, lessening reliance on the fossil-fueled grid of Puerto Ayora, Galapagos.
Does Solar Energy make sense in the Galapagos?
With average insolation levels of 4.5 to 5 kWh/m2/day, the Galapagos is an ideal place for solar energy. The solar panels installed at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel don’t just make sense from an environmental standpoint, they are also a strategic action for lessening the brunt of energy costs in such a far-flung destination. Energy procurement in the Galapagos is challenging. Diesel has to be shipped in, at great expense, from the mainland. Solar panels provide a much cleaner and more sustainable option, with the added benefit of being a renewable resource. By reducing their reliance on the Puerto Ayora grid, the hotel is helping to ease pressure on the local energy infrastructure. As other hotels make the switch to solar power, a more sustainable, more energy-independent Galapagos Province is possible.
Good Neighbors and Leaders in Sustainability
Sustainable tourism is a new sort of tourism that seeks to mitigate, reduce, and eliminate the negative impact travel can have on the environment or the societies in which it takes place. The Galapagos Islands is a place with unique wildlife and therefore comes with a heavy burden of responsibility towards its inhabitants, both creature and human. Finch Bay takes measures to reduce its water and electricity consumption and encourages its guests to do the same. The hotel also sources its food locally, using organically grown produce whenever possible, and relying on its own Chakrita garden, a small but important agricultural initiative. The hotel also boasts a recycling program, state-of-the-art LED lighting, and eco-safe hygiene products that reduce all sorts of environmental footprints. Now with the addition of these solar panels, Finch Bay establishes a new paradigm of sustainable tourism in the Galapagos Islands. In addition, Finch Bay employs members of the local community and supports various environmental preservation initiatives throughout the Galapagos. As a result, the hotel is not only playing a role in preserving this natural wonder but also doing its part to support the local economy.
A Paradise Worth Protecting
The Galapagos Islands are a pristine natural environment, and the hotel’s commitment to sustainable tourism is commendable. This could easily be a model for other hotels in the archipelago; it could even serve as a replicable example worldwide in other pristine locations of great natural importance. “We want our guests to feel they are staying at a hotel that takes its responsibility to the fragile and unique ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands seriously,” says Paulina Burbano de Lara, CEO of the Destination Management Company that manages Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel. “With that knowledge, they can feel truly connected with this amazing ecosystem and its wildlife.”