Does solar energy save money for hotels and resorts?
After you examine the six hotels and resorts listed below, you’ll be able to answer that question.
The hotels and resorts you’re about to see have installed a wide variety of solar energy systems. Some produce enough energy to completely eliminate their energy bills. Others produce enough for a partial reduction. Some have hundreds of rooms and large acreage. Others are smaller.
The diversity of hotels with solar panels makes one thing clear: Almost any hotel has enough potential to greatly benefit from solar energy, and it is at least worth looking into to see how the costs and projected long term savings work out.
With that in mind, let’s look at these six hotels and resorts and the solar energy systems they’ve installed.
Courtyard by Marriott-Lancaster – Now 100% Solar
This Pennsylvania hotel installed 2700 solar panels on the roof of the nearby Greenfield Corporate Center, enough to fill two football fields.
The hotel’s solar array will produce over 1.2 million kWh per year, just over the 1.18 million used by the hotel’s 133 rooms. The system cost $1.5 million to install. They saved 30% from the federal Investment Tax Credit, and $504,900 more from a grant through an in-state program.
With no utility bill, the hotel stands to see a great return on their investment.
For hotels, which typically have multiple stories and limited roof space, cancelling 100% of their electric bill through solar requires some creativity, and at times, some luck. In this case, the Courtyard was able to leverage a healthy relationship with the nearby Corporate Center and use their much larger roof area.
As you’ll read later, there are other ways to expand your solar system beyond just your hotel’s roof.
Hampton Inn, Bakersfield – Saving $8000 per Month
This Southern California 94-unit hotel used the same federal ITC to save 30% off their 102 kW solar energy system. Much smaller than the previous example, this hotel’s solar panels still produce over 13,000 kWh per month, which lowers its energy bills by 35-45%, depending on the time of year.
They’re now saving between $7400 and $8800 every month and expect to fully recover their investment in just 7.75 years.
In the photo, you’ll notice one creative way the Hampton was able to enlarge their solar array. Instead of using their roof, they built solar carports in sections of their parking lot. This actually removed the need to alter their roof at all.
However, had they wanted to, they could have installed an even larger system by also adding panels to their roof. But the creative use of carports simplified the installation process, and also provides a side benefit for their customers, who now have shaded parking right under the panels providing power for their rooms.
Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa, Chile – 100% Solar Coverage
588 solar panels, spanning nearly 10,000 square feet, along with 335 kWh of solar battery storage have enabled this South American hotel [link to: http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles/290305/The-ROI-of-solar-powered-hotels ] to supply 100% of its energy demands during the day.
With only 32 rooms, this Chilean hotel was able to use their land creatively with a ground-based solar array that covers all their energy needs.
Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas – Offsetting 75% of Energy Bill
This huge resort, with 2716 rooms, built a 160-acre solar farm that will reduce their utility bills by 75%. With a fixed-cost 10-year financing deal, they will save 20% in energy just over that 10 year period.
After that, with the array fully paid for, each subsequent year will see dramatic cost savings.
Wynn Resorts plans to use these savings to invest in other energy saving technology, and to enhance their guest services. By re-investing their savings from solar, Wynn will be able to improve their resort’s bottom line even more.
Frangipani Beach Resort, Anguilla – 70% Solar Powered
This 800 panel 370 kW solar system, built on a quarter acre of land in addition to two solar carports, will produce enough power to cancel out 70% of the resort’s utility bills.
Being an island resort in the British West Indies, Frangipani also had their system specially designed to withstand potential hurricane force winds. They also use battery storage and a creative installation approach so their panels power specific sectors of their energy consumption, such as air conditioning and water heating – the most energy-intensive features in most hotels and resorts.
La Quinta Inn & Suites, Danbury – 18% Solar Powered
Some hotels are more limited in their roof space, available land, or budget. But money saved is money saved. And the La Quinta in Danbury Connecticut will be saving $1500 on energy costs, every single month, from their 400 panel solar array.
The 113-unit hotel installed solar panels on two of their five buildings, and is now generating 18% of their energy from solar power. That’s about one fifth. They’re also earning $16,000 per year in renewable energy credits. Every state offers different incentive programs, and Connecticut’s made solar a great opportunity for this La Quinta location.
Is Your Hotel or Resort Suitable for Solar Power?
Hotels use far more energy than most other businesses with similar sized structures, because they must operate several power-hungry systems such as water heating, laundry, and HVAC, that service extensive square footage.
Thus, the potential is very high for saving large amounts of money even through a modestly sized solar array such as the La Quinta one.
Energy costs will only continue to rise, which makes the savings from solar power accelerate each year. Solar is inflation-proof energy production.
If you have a hotel in the United States, get on a call with a Coastal Solar commercial solar specialist, and see how your numbers pencil out.