Solar Spotlight: Ted Turner’s Hunting and Fishing Lodge Goes Off-Grid

This post was originally published in 2014. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

Costilla Lodge, a 578,000 acre hunting and fishing resort owned by media mogul and multi-billionaire Ted Turner, recently commissioned at $1 million off-grid solar system.

Sunny Boy 9000TL-US

The lodge is located within Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch — one of the largest privately owned ranches in the United States. With its new photovoltaic system, it’s now among the nation’s top ten grid-independent arrays in both size and scale!

Turner is an adamant supporter of conservation efforts and the use of renewable energy across his nearly two million acres of land. As the second largest landholder in North America, his innovative land management techniques have successfully united economic growth and environmental sustainability.

About the System 

New Mexico-based 310 Solar Energy developed and installed the 56.2 kW PV array on the remote ranch. The off-grid system comprises 216 ground-mounted PV modules, six SMA Sunny Boy 9000TL-US inverters and nine Sunny Island 6048-US inverters.

“Given Mr. Turner’s commitment to moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, it was an honor for us to design a system to get the [ranch’s] Costilla Lodge completely off-grid. Our companies have similar missions, so together we have developed a project that is of national significance.” – Glenn Gallipoli, President and COO of 310 Solar.

An SMA Sunny Island inverter is an intelligent system manager that creates a self-sufficient AC grid and protects batteries, extending system life.

An SMA Sunny Island inverter is an intelligent system manager that creates a self-sufficient AC grid and protects batteries, extending system life.

Modern Day Luxuries, Off the Grid 

The project posed design and logistical challenges due to the ranch’s remote location and high altitude. Costilla Lodge is a contemporary resort and requires a stable power source; consumption demands increase and decrease depending on seasons and weather. To address this challenge, the back-up system includes both a battery bank and diesel generator. The diesel generator is only used to recharge the batteries on cloudy days.

“310 Solar Energy […] provided us with a functioning system, allowing us to go from running our generators 24 hours a day, to shutting them down for 90 percent of the summer. We are      very pleased with the outcome of this project.” – Mark Kossler, Vermejo Park Ranch Manager

For Turner Enterprises, Inc., it was essential that the new off-grid PV system provide guests with a reliable source of power so they could enjoy modern conveniences. Guests at Costilla Lodge can now appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds them and know they are leaving a minimal footprint.

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