California dreaming of money-saving solar

Solar panels on the carport in Bakersfield

Solar panels on the carport in Bakersfield

A California hotel is looking forward to savings of 44% on its energy bills thanks to a new solar installation.

The Hampton Inn & Suites Bakersfield North-Airport, a subsidiary of Hilton Hotels, in Bakersfield California has added a 102 kilowatt solar array to its carport, and in the process anticipates the installation will offset 44 per cent of the electricity costs for the 94-room hotel, saving up to $8,800 per month.

With temperatures regularly reaching 115 degrees, the Bakersfield hotel faces steep cooling costs. In a bid to maintain comfortable temperatures for their guests at all times, hotels can be some of the largest consumers of natural resources in hot communities like Bakersfield.

The Hampton Inn had previously expressed concerns about installing a rooftop array that would require closing the top floor of rooms and forfeiting revenue. As a result, REC Solar – a commercial solar electric system design and installation company - worked with The Hampton Inn to design a solar carport that did not require disruption to existing operations. The carport not only generates clean electricity but will also provide much-needed shade for 30 parked cars. REC Solar used HelioScope software to design the system, reducing installation time and costs. In addition to the solar array, Hampton Inn installed two electric vehicle charging stations, with room for up to eight stations.

“Solar never made sense for us in the past,” said Braxton Myers, Vice President of Operations for Blackstone Hospitality Group Inc, which provides property management for franchise hotels throughout the U.S. such as The Hampton Inn. “But REC Solar delivered a price point that convinced us to take another look. They walked us through a range of financing options and designed a tailored carport system which offered many benefits. REC Solar came highly recommended by their existing customers, and have delivered on that reputation throughout this process.”

“Hotels can be ideal candidates for solar energy, but have traditionally faced roadblocks ranging from high costs to concerns around customer inconvenience,” said Mark Bettis, VP of Sales and Marketing for REC Solar. “REC specialises in tailoring systems specifically for the needs of these customers by cutting soft costs through our design software, and building solar carports to avoid impact on customers. In addition to reducing costs, hotels are finding that sustainable initiatives such as solar energy and EV charging stations are becoming increasingly desirable amenities for their customers.”

The completion of both the solar array and the EV charging stations was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 30, 2014.

Hilton Worldwide has a strong commitment to reducing energy across its property portfolio as part of its sustainability initiatives. Their president of development, Ian Carter, is the chairman and a founding member of the International Tourism Partnership, and is a member of ITP’s working groups on carbon measurement, water, sustainable supply chains and the YCI programme.

ITP in association with the WTTC and 20 partnering global hotel chains developed the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) to help all hotels around the world measure and reduce their carbon footprint. The tool is universally recognised as the common methodology for measuring carbon emissions. Around the world more than 21,000 hotels now use the HCMI to measure, report and reduce their carbon footprint.

Leave a Reply