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GLN’s Solar Powered Hotels List Keeps Getting Longer

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The list of solar powered hotels listed on Green Lodging News just keeps getting longer. I just added the Olas Verdes Hotel to the Solar Powered page included in our Renewable Energy All Stars section. The Olas Verdes Hotel, located in Costa Rica, is a LEED Platinum property with five casitas. Each casita has from two to four suites. Solar PV and hot water systems provide nearly 20 percent of the energy needed to run the hotel. The Olas Verdes Hotel fits well in Costa Rica, a country now running off of about 98 percent clean energy. I will be writing more about the Olas Verdes Hotel very soon. Just yesterday, The Hotel at Oberlin officially opened in Oberlin, Ohio. A large portion of the hotel’s power is supplied by a 10-acre photovoltaic array on the campus of Oberlin College. The Hotel at Oberlin is another LEED Platinum hotel.

Several weeks ago I posted an article about the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea, Hawaii and its 500 kilowatt, 1,528 panel solar installation. The project is expected to reduce the resort’s current energy demand by more than 10 percent and reduce CO2e emissions by 462 metric tons of CO2e annually. The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa recently celebrated the installation of one of the largest rooftop photovoltaic systems in Hawaii. The system of solar panels produces more than 6 percent of the resort’s annual electricity. Also earlier this year, MGM Resorts International completed its massive 8.3. MW array atop the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. It includes more than 26,000 PV panels.

As the price of solar comes down—it was $100 per watt back in 1975 but is now around $.61 per watt—an increasing number of hotel owners are finding it to be a viable option. Yes, you need the footprint for the panels and it becomes more viable if you are up against high electricity rates, but sometimes all it takes is creative financing. MGM Resorts International, for example, does not own its system. Through a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Mandalay Bay Resort purchases all the electricity generated by the panels from NRG Energy, Inc.

If you would like to learn more about solar, be sure to visit the Solar Energy Industries Assn. (SEIA) website. According to SEIA, the United States installed 2,051 MW of solar PV in Q2 2016 to reach 31.6 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity, enough to power 6.2 million American homes.

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