When we took over Manicou River, we knew we had the bones of something very special. 9.5 acres of wooded mountainside, 500ft of spring-fed river-front and the most spectacular sea views we could ever hope for. The octagonal wooden cottages were beautifully constructed and kitchens and bathrooms well designed. But we knew there were some things missing. The most obvious of which was electricity.
Guests have been coming to Manicou River to enjoy the spectacular views and be close to nature. The place is so beautiful that most of them have been willing to rough it a little without simple comforts such as refrigeration and hot showers. We felt that if we did things right we could add a bit more comfort and luxury and still stay true to the nature experience that is the magic of Manicou River. It only took a bit of surveying of our guests to find out that they enthusiastically agreed.
And so our first major project in the development of the resort began with the plan to introduce 100% off-grid alternative energy to Manicou River.
Designing and installing an efficient and reliable solar system is a complex process. We started by working with our very talented and tireless local electrical engineer Glenn Alexander to wire each cottage and install low-energy lighting and a 110v power socket. As a temporary measure, we have been running a generator for a few hours each evening so our guests can have some light to cook by and to charge mobile phones and cameras.
For phase two we are working with off-grid systems veteran Jeff Clearwater. Jeff came to stay with us for a week in May. Before arriving he worked with us to create a detailed ‘load sheet’ to calculate exactly how much power we would need at what times of the day. While here at Manicou, working closely with our gardener Conrad, he spent two days making a detailed survey of the property. This involved observing the movement of the sun throughout the day, measuring distances and drops and surveying the river for hydro electric potential.
Armed with all this information he helped us to design a two-stage system which will start with solar
and have the option to add hydro in the future as we expand.
While all the components for this system are making their way to us by sea from New York, our local construction team, lead by master builder Mr Nicholson, are hard at work constructing the ‘power shed’ to house the batteries and transformers and the roof structure at the top of the property to hold 25 solar panels.
We have our fingers crossed for good weather so they can have all the construction complete by 25th June when Jeff arrives for the installation.