Paradise Found: Caribbean Resort Owners Harness Sun Power

The owners of the Caribbean’s only full-service, 100% solar-powered resort, Mike and Petagay Hartman came to South Andros, Andros Island in the Bahamas soon after they met — on Valentine’s Day 1995. They fell in love with the pristine environment, and it was only natural that Tiamo Resort grew from their desire to preserve and share their experience.

While planning and building Tiamo, now among the world's most award-winning premier eco-resorts, Mike and Petagay took great care to have the least possible impact on the island’s ecosystem, which sits at the third largest barrier reef in the world. Bungalows feature Sun-Mar composting toilets that break black wastewater down into soil-enriching organic peat; thermal heaters create hot water; greywater is cleansed via a dirt, sand and rock filtering system; passive cooling is maximized in bungalows while maintaining total privacy; and laundry is washed in biodegradable, phosphorous-free soaps and line-dried in the warm Bahamian air. The Hartmans ask local fishermen to catch only species that are in abundance, and they are looking into hydroponics for growing fresh organic fruits and vegetables.

But the heart of Tiamo's environmentally friendly operations is its solar electric system designed by Gaiam Real Goods, whose Technical Advisor Jeff Oldham says he has enormous respect for what the Hartmans have accomplished. Having consulted on solar power projects at a number of eco-resorts around the world, Oldham notes that “Installing PV systems in eco-resorts makes sense given the (often) remote locations of the resorts and the commitment to treading lightly."

The relationship between Olham and the Hartmans was critical to the resort’s complete reliance on alternative energy. “We spent four years researching alternative energy before beginning to build,” remembers Petagay. “Jeff was so patient, always helping with information and recommendations. With that kind of service we simply couldn’t have gone anywhere else.”

The Hartmans continue to reduce their impact, sponsoring research scientists and participating in programs to educate children and adults in alternative energy solutions and sustainability. They’re also working with community leaders on the South Andros Island Preservation Initiative.

To contact Tiamo, call 242.357.2489 or visit www.tiamoresorts.com.


Tech Specs:
Hartman Home's Solar Electric System
System Type Grid Intertie System
System Size 13kW on nine active trackers
PV Panels Astropower 120W modules
Inverter Xantrex 5548 (11 kW inverter power)  
Trackers Wattsun Trackers
Batteries MK batteries L-16 (five days' energy storage)


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