A Trip Around Europe, Exploring the Solar Industry, Lake Garda

A Trip Around Europe

Exploring the Solar Industry

Lake Garda

Paradise in your pocket.

From my farmhouse window, I can see the bottom of the lake. The sun is catching the water. Shimmering liquid sapphire. Set against the foothills of the Gruppo di Baldo mountains.

It’s the largest lake in Italy. Situated at the foot of the alps. The mild climate makes the lake a perfect breeding ground for lush Mediterranean vegetation. Olive trees border the water. Iridescent in the midmorning heat

I’m staying in Peschiera Del Garda, a southern section of the lake that attracts tourists from all over. So, despite my attempts to chat in Italian, most conversations are had in English. It’s no surprise. Lake Garda is the ideal holiday destination. I could gaze at the panoramic views over the lake for days. Eat at the lakeside restaurants for the rest of my life, their canopies adorned with golden, glistening fairy lights.

It’s for this reason that the innovation of this Italian paradise is found in its hospitality. The permanent buzz of excited tourists sustains Lake Garda’s economy. Maintained by artfully marketed sustainable living.

The lakeside towns are littered with places to stay. You can’t turn a corner without finding a campsite or hotel. Many offer their guests a holiday designed to harness comfort and sustainability. A hotel uses roughly 50% more energy that a residential block of a similar size. And solar systems do more than just save the owner’s money. Attracting eco-friendly guests and creating a green reputation has never been more favourable, especially in Lake Garda.

Campsite Relax Agricampeggio’s accommodation is powered exclusively by renewable energy, completely independent from external sources, powering both the owner’s home and their holiday campsite, recognising the wealth of energy from the eternal sunshine falling on the lake.

PV panels are placed strategically alongside the edge of the campsite. A solar border. And guests are able to enjoy basic domestic necessities, from their washing machines to their hair dryers, all powered by solar energy.

Sustainable holidays are taking over the hospitality market. They’re not only attracting customers but increasing the overall level of satisfaction. Proving to business owners that a green certification might do more for a business than you realise.

Eco Hotels – Who said luxury and sustainability don’t go hand in hand?

After days spent basking in the lake and laying on the beach, I venture over to the town of Sirmione. An astonishingly picturesque peninsula gated by one of the most well-preserved fortresses, suspended on water. Dating back to the second half of the 14th century, the castle’s charming dock encloses Sirmione’s section of the lake. The little town is the front page of almost every Lake Garda brochure. Proceeded by Roman ruins, steeped in history, this little oasis is home to some of the most charming sustainable hotels. 

A prime example is the Crystal Good Life Hotel. Priding itself on innovative, forward-thinking facilities. The bright, modern building is fully equipped with solar panels, powering intelligent sensors for low-consumption lighting, alongside two charging stations for electric cars.

There is a lot to be learned from how Lake Garda has adapted its hospitality industry into a renewable, sustainable service. Whether you’re part of the industry itself or have the pleasure of indulging in it, they’ve shown us that sustainability doesn’t mean stripping back on creature comforts but learning how to indulge responsibly.

Solar energy and transportation

Travelling up the lake, and moving to Maderno, I’m struck by a stark difference in the way Lake Garda is using solar energy. I check the live bus times on a screen attached to a post, powered by a single solar panel. It’s so simple – such a small, obvious use of solar power. And, yet, it demonstrates just how simple going solar is. In the heart of this thriving part of Italy, renewable energy is found in the most unexpected places. The redevelopment of the transportation industry in Lake Garda demonstrates that there is, and has always been, an eco-friendly way to serve the basic needs of the public. The solutions are there. The solutions are simple. We just need to look for them.

Implementing change, however small, is significant.

Lake Garda has surprised me in so many ways. From the life – breathed into the lakeside by the provincial, Italian towns and the bustling excitement of visitors from all over the world. There is beauty and individualism in the way they’ve adapted to renewable energy.

Italy’s investment in solar is clearly starting to pay off. 2020 saw the value of investments in the PV sector round up to a mammoth 807 million euros. Stretching from the industrial metropolis of Milan to the mountainous, Mediterranean lake, Italy’s distinct landscape has allowed the development of a range of renewables. The country is widely recognised as a leader in renewable energy. But it’s important for us all to remember that whether you’re looking to make a little change or a big one, you can always make a difference.