Seems that the hospitality industry has grown fond of solar technologies during the last few years. Nowadays solar is more cost-effective and affordable than ever. It has also proven its efficiency and reliability over the last few decades which resulted in solar being more interesting and compelling to hotel managers. They are counting on certain environmental and economic benefits (not specifically in that order) which arise from installing solar rooftops on hotels. The dire predictions of the cost of energy bills steadily increasing in the upcoming years has made them intrigued with solar technologies. Reducing overhead sounds like every hotel manager’s dream come true.
Because a hotel uses 50 percent more energy than a residential block of a similar size, managers have to contemplate how to cope with project estimates. Going solar can be a great solution in the case of hotels and larger sites—owners can reap great benefits of renewable energy use in the short and long term. Solar systems can reduce energy bills and attract eco-friendly guests and generate favorable publicity. A well-designed solar system can be helpful in gaining the goals mentioned above.
A Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) can be considered as a “hard” benefit which is easy to predict when evaluating the cost of the investment in the construction of a solar system for a hotel. The start-up costs of constructing a well-designed solar system could put a business off. Fortunately, government grants such as ITC help businesses to afford the use of cheaper and cleaner sources of energy. How much of a start-up cost businesses can claim is dependable on the country’s regulations. It can even cover 80 percent of the start-up cost. Let’s take an example of the Hampton Inn in Bakersfield, Calif. The hotel received a 30 percent federal tax credit from ITC in order to build a 102kW solar system. The result was amazing—the hotel managed to lower its energy bills by 45 percent while producing more than 13,000 kWh per month. The owners saved $7,400 to $8,800 per month on average thanks to the solar system installation.
Solar’s ‘Soft’ Benefits
Some of the “soft” benefits are related to green marketing. A solar PV installation can not only attract customers but also raise the level of their satisfaction. It can contribute to LEED points. Green hotel certification was pointed out as the most influential attribute on hotel room preferences, according to a study carried out amongst 571 travelers.
Solar panels can be installed on different roofs and will not chase away the hotel’s customers from their rooms since they are installed easily and quietly. A solar power system has a lifespan of over 25 years if constructed properly and designed well.
There are currently numerous hotels that are using solar energy. One example is the Finolhu Villas resort in Maldives. It is running 100 percent on solar power and was designed by Yuji Yamazaki. The resort’s solar panels produce a megawatt of energy each and every day. Energy storage is needed in case of cloudy, rainy days during which the sun stays hidden behind the clouds. Besides solar PV panels, the dream vacation spot has desalination tanks and a sustainable waste management system.
Matt Jambro is a writer and editor covering topics such as construction, solar energy, roofing, smart homes design, sustainability and new technological solutions. He currently works for Georgia Roof Pro. Georgia Roof Pro is a commercial roofing company with a number of years of experience in the field of roof design, roof installation, and roof repair and maintenance.