Swell Lodge, Christmas Island

As well as installing multiple offgrid and grid-connected systems in the coming months, we recently installed the offgrid power system for Swell Lodge at Christmas Island. Swell Lodge is a luxury eco lodge nestled in the jungle in the Christmas Island National Park. The lodge is surrounded by wildlife and overlooks the ever-changing ocean. It’s one of the world’s most exclusive eco resorts, and is truly offgrid. The lodge is a series of 8 luxury tents in development, all totally isolated from each other - all powered entirely by the sun.


Swell Lodge - offgrid power

The lodge has no connection to the island’s power network, and each ecotent is separated from each other in the jungle, so each tent has its own completely standalone off-grid solar power system, right on the cliffs where the land meets the sea. The lodge is running entirely off solar panels and batteries, and with a nightly rate of $1400 for guests the lodge’s owners expect that everything just works (it does). Not only does the system provide all the power they need for their guests but we installed remote monitoring so we can check it out over satellite NBN and see how their system is performing at any time of the day, from anywhere in the world. Here is one of the tents at Swell Lodge:


Swell Lodge - Ecotents in the Christmas Island National Park

Swell Lodge is building eight ecotents in the jungle along the cliff. Each tent design includes the following:

  • Standalone Power System (SPS / offgrid)

  • Tier 1 polycrystalline solar panels

  • PV inverter & battery charge controller

  • Lithium ion batteries

  • Genset integration

  • Aluminium framing (tent top)

  • Hot water

  • Remote monitoring

  • Satellite broadband NBN

Swell Lodge - Gallery

What the Swell Lodge owners had to say:

Chris Bray, owner of Swell Lodge, had this to say about the offgrid system we installed at Swell Lodge:


“The off-grid solar power system installed at Swell Lodge by Island Power Co has been up and running absolutely flawlessly for six months now with high-profile guests staying at the lodge, and I couldn’t be happier with how it is performing. The Island Power Co guys are total legends and I will absolutely be working with them again for all the remaining eco-chalets we’re establishing along the coast here, or any other remote power installations I ever get involved with. I can’t recommend them highly enough.”

“Deciding what power solution to invest in for our remote, 100% off-grid, solar powered eco-lodge installation inside the Christmas Island National Park initially seemed pretty daunting. What sized solar array would we need? What kind and size of storage technology would be best? Which inverter would best survive our corrosive, coastal environment? All these questions and more were starting to pile up, especially as every company we asked seemed to give us different answers pitching us their own products! That was, until we got in touch with the guys at Island Power Co who remarkably quickly lifted all the weight of these stresses from our shoulders: They listened and understood what we needed, did all the research for us and presented us with a comprehensive, refreshingly rational, unbiased report of their findings as to which products and technologies would be suitable options for each element, the price and performance characteristics of each, and their logical recommendations.”

“They clearly knew and understood the dynamics at play and effortlessly walked us through a minefield of questions to comfortably arrive at a total system design that was light-years better than I had been imagining, for about the same cost. They then took complete care of the ordering and delivery to our remote island (no small feat in itself with ever-changing shipping schedules etc) and when we were finally at the right stage, they came over to professionally install it and check everything was 200%, which it was.”

“Island Power Co have also been more than generous with swift and detailed customer service and support whenever I have any new questions or additions – for example we now have remote monitoring of the whole system via satellite internet, which they helped me connect up at very short notice via Skype. Nothing seems too much trouble for them, which puts my mind at rest. Thanks so very much again Island Power Co!” — Chris Bray, Swell Lodge

Where is Swell Lodge?


Swell Lodge is about as far away from anywhere as you can get… Located way out in the Indian Ocean, and closer to Indonesia than Australia, the lodge is remote.

We freighted all equipment by cargo ship from Western Australia to Christmas Island (the ship arrives every few months). Then we flew in on the twice weekly flight (flights from Indonesia and Australia) and landed at Christmas Island. From there we needed to take the gear down the 4WD only track deep in the national park. When we reached the end of the track we carried the panels, batteries (yes, heavy!), and other equipment down to the lodge by hand, and then installed everything on a custom built frame up on the ecotent roof.

The satellite dish installed the roof transmits their system data back to us where can track pv generation, battery state of charge, guest loads and more. You can book here :)


Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS)

Residents and businesses who install renewable energy systems in the Indian Ocean Territories receive a government incentive for installing solar. Eligible systems earn a ‘feed-in tariff’ under the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS), which means you can save a lot of money on your power bill. If you generate more power than you use, then you can also get paid for every unit of excess electricity that you sell to the grid.

Solar and Battery Storage

To be eligible to receive the feed-in tariff in the IOT all new installations need to have batteries installed as part of your system. This requirement for batteries is part of a new set of rules that was recently introduced for renewable energy in Christmas and Cocos. The government introduced the rules to minimise the impact of a large number of households generating power from solar and sending it to the grid (if too many households or businesses put energy into the grid it can create technical risks for the network).

Battery storage helps to smooth out the output of your solar system, and is required to reduce impacts to the network. All systems that we install meet the new technical requirements to connect to the grid and receive the feed-in tariff from government.

System Payback

A solar and battery storage system in the IOT will pay for itself much quicker than on the mainland because of the local feed-in tariff. Your exact payback period will depend on how much electricity you use, and the size and configuration of your system. Systems in the IOT without batteries typically have a payback of around 3 years.

We will first model the predicted amount of electricity that your system will generate, and if you can provide your monthly electricity bill then we can also calculate your payback period and other financial metrics. Our payback models also show how future changes in the price of the feed-in tariff would affect the financial return of your system. 


Let us know which basic system you're interested in and we can give you detailed pricing (the final price depends a lot on whether you want standard equipment or premium equipment).

We are happy to match a quote for an equivalent system from a reputable installer on the mainland. We can also let you know the extra local costs that a mainland installer would have to add. For the IOT you are required to have batteries, battery inverter, cyclone rated equipment, extra engineering certifications, Zentner freight, and all the other local costs etc. We can go through all of this with you - we want you to be able to get a good deal here, and get local support (rather than paying for a team of installers that flies up from Perth and aren't around for support when you need it). 



Small Residential System (3 kW)

3 kW Tier 1 solar panels (JA Solar)
Lithium ion battery storage (LG Chem)
Inverters (SolarEdge or Fronius)
All other system parts, freight, and installation

This is the cheapest solar and battery package we offer. It meets all requirements for installing solar in the IOT, and is recommended if you want the lowest possible price. You can also upgrade to Tesla battery storage.

Large Residential System (5 kW)

5 kW Tier 1 solar panels (JA Solar)
Lithium ion battery storage (LG Chem or Tesla)
Inverters (SolarEdge or Fronius)
All other system parts, freight, and installation

This is a larger residential solar and battery package. It meets all requirements for installing solar in the IOT and is best for larger houses or houses with high energy use. You can also upgrade to Tesla battery storage.

Small Commercial System (10 kW)

10 kW Tier 1 solar panels (JA Solar)
Lithium ion battery storage (LG Chem, or Tesla)
Inverters (SolarEdge or Fronius)
All other system parts, freight, and installation

Various 10 kW configurations are available as part of our standard commercial system packages. These packages meet all requirements for installing solar in the IOT, and are best for offsetting your business power bills.

Commercial Systems (10+ kW)

10 lw + Tier 1 solar panels (JA Solar)
Lithium ion battery storage (LG Chem, or Tesla)
Inverters (SolarEdge, Fronius, Selectronic)
All other system parts, freight, and installation

Systems larger than 10 kW are suited for businesses that want to offset large power bills. Any system larger than 10 kW has strict technical requirements, and requires special approval, so get in touch to discuss. 

What you get with every systeM

Local Support

We have staff and installers living at Cocos and Christmas, so we understand the local power network and how to integrate your system into the local grid. We also fly regularly between Christmas and Cocos, so you can catch up with us in person. Because we live in the islands we know what it's like to have your electronic devices break or your shipping delayed. We're also used to working with Zentners for sea freight and the Freightshop / Toll for air freight. Most importantly, if you have an issue with your system, we are here in the islands to help.

System Components

The main parts of your system are the solar panels (capture energy), inverter (converts electricity), battery and battery inverters (charge and store energy). All of our systems use components from large established companies. 


We recommend the use of high quality components for systems in the IOT (things break up here more than on the mainland). We prefer to install high quality equipment with good warranty support, but if you just care about the cheapest price then we can provide a cheapest tier of products. 


Solar panels all of our solar packages use Tier 1 solar panels from Trina, JA Solar, Jinko, or Canadian Solar. These are high quality solar panel companies, all in the top 5 solar manufacturers globally, have excellent product and performance warranties, and are used in most of the big solar installations around the world. These are all excellent panels, and are recognised as being very high quality panels across the solar industry. If you want to go really high end we can also supply LG panels, but they are more expensive. In general, we recommend Trina, JA Solar, Jinko, or Canadian Solar for the islands. 

Inverters we recommend inverters from SolarEdge and Fronius - both companies make very high quality inverters for domestic, commercial, and large scale projects.For commercial projects with battery storage we recommend SolarEdge, Fronius, and Selectronic inverters for a very high quality system. 

Batteries we offer two tiers of batteries - premium and standard. The cheapest batteries are lithium ion batteries from BYD - a major electric vehicle and battery manufacturer from China. If you want to upgrade to premium quality components you can choose to us use Tesla Powerwall batteries or LG Chem batteries. Tesla Powerwall brings lot of additional features and extra storage size but there is currently limited stock. If you want tried and tested batteries then lead acid or lead carbon batteries are also an option to consider. These are bulkier, and less fancy than lithium ion batteries, but still used in many remote places because of their reliability. 


Island Power Co is an Australian renewable energy project developer.
We specialise in renewable energy systems for islands and remote communities.