LANCASTER, Pa.—High Hotels Ltd. announced that it is installing a $1.5 million solar array that will generate 100 percent of the electrical power required to operate one of its existing hotels in Greenfield Corporate Center. The completed installation will make the 133-room Courtyard by Marriott-Lancaster the first Marriott-branded hotel in the United States with 100 percent of its electricity needs generated from solar power. It is also believed to be the first solar array in the country installed for the sole purpose of generating 100 percent of the electricity needs of a hotel.
“This is an exciting approach to addressing our energy needs that aligns very well with High’s commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Russ Urban, president of High Hotels. “We’ve been advancing many environmentally responsible practices across our hotel portfolio, including converting the interior and exterior lighting at the Lancaster Courtyard to LED, which will lower electricity demand by 15 percent. Installing solar is another important step in this progression, and we will look to apply lessons from this as we expand our portfolio of premium select-service hotels.”
The Lancaster-based, family-owned hotel developer, owner, and operator is working in partnership with Marriott International to realize this vision. “High Hotels is a very forward-thinking owner and operator of our select-service hotels, well known for their commitment to impeccable quality and superior customer service,” said John Whitwell, vice president, global operations, Classic Select Brands, Marriott International. “This investment highlights the team’s innovative leadership and aligns well with Marriott’s sustainability strategy.”
The installation of more than 2,700 ballasted photovoltaic panels will fill an area more than two football fields in size. After evaluating several on-site and near-site alternatives, High Hotels decided to install the solar array on the roof of a nearby building in Greenfield Corporate Center. Using the existing roof saves more than three acres of open land and has additional aesthetic benefits. The solar array will produce 1,239,000 kWh of power for the hotel, which consumes 1,177,000 kWh. Any excess power will be sold to the utility.
High Hotels received a grant of $504,900 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) through the Solar Energy Program to complete the project. An independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the CFA is responsible for evaluating projects and awarding funds for a variety of economic development programs, including the Solar Energy Program. The project will receive a solar renewable energy credit which will be conveyed to the CFA to provide the agency with more funds to offer grants in the future.
“This is a cutting-edge project that is exactly the kind we are looking for to promote the generation and use of solar energy,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “I am very pleased that the first Marriott in the U.S. to receive 100 percent of its electric needs through renewable solar energy is located right here in Central Pennsylvania.” Secretary Davin also serves as chairman of the CFA’s board.
Panels for the solar array will be Q Cells manufactured by Hanwha Cells Co., Ltd., headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. Ephrata, Pa.-based Meadow Valley Electric Inc. will install the array in the second and third quarters of 2018 with commissioning targeted for September 2018.
Greenfield Corporate Center in Lancaster, Pa., is a 600-acre, master-planned, mixed-use campus with a strong track record of sustainable practices going back many decades, including: restoration of two riparian buffers along the streams that cross the corporate center, including being the first property of its kind in Lancaster to restore such a buffer in 1999; installation of free electric vehicle charging stations in 2012; upgrade of campus buildings with high-efficiency fluorescent lighting, or LED, as well as occupancy sensors; modification of planting areas to indigenous species to reduce watering requirements; roof replacements made with increased insulation to prevent heating and cooling loss; installation of high-efficiency HVAC systems; and materials removed in renovations recycled; new material selections reviewed for recyclable content in their manufacturing.
“We’ve invested $4 million in energy conservation initiatives over the last ten years,” said Mark Fitzgerald, president and chief operating officer of High Real Estate Group LLC. “This new investment in solar energy generation furthers and strengthens that commitment.”
Photo (left to right): Mike Lorelli, Sr. Vice President, Commercial Asset Management, High Associates Ltd.; Jeremy Geib, General Manager, High Hotels Ltd.; Russ Urban, President, High Hotels Ltd.; and Jim Baxter, Manager of Facilities, High Associates Ltd.