From the outside, the Comfort Inn La Estancia near San Diego looks like your garden variety mainstream hotel, complete with free parking for truckers and RV’s. But soon it will share something sustainable that many boutique “green” hotels boast, 100% solar power for its electricity usage.
The greening of Comfort Inn is thanks to a partnership with Pursol Solar Systems, which will install an 83 kilowatt photovoltaic system under its Solarize financing program, basically guaranteeing the hotel a 20% savings on its electricity bill without any up-front costs.
Solarpur’s Solarize Lease Program
The Solarize program is a lease arrangement that could be a boon for hotels and other institutions that lack the investment capital to retrofit their buildings for solar. It also eliminates the need for hotel managers and planners to become solar power experts – sort of like leasing and driving a car without having to be an expert mechanic. In Solarpur’s arrangement, the company designs, builds, owns, and manages the phovoltaic system, and takes on the billing as well. If the system yields more kilowatts than the hotel can use, Solarpur keeps that and presumably sells it back to the grid or otherwise disposes it. The hotel, of course, is not charged for any electricity generated in excess of what it actually uses.
Green Vacations, Green Conferences
With mainstream hotels like Comfort Inn joining the charge to go solar, finding a green – or at least greener – hotel should become that much easier in the near future. Up to now, the choices have been mainly limited to boutique hotels and resorts like the Gaia Hotel, which cater to a self-consciously green clientele. The lease-based solar financing system could be irresistible to any number of roadside motels and hotels, to say nothing of government installations and other institutions, opening up solar energy to mass consumption. And, much the same way that car manufacturers evolved into financial institutions that offer easy money to help more people buy more cars, it’s not too hard to see a future dominated by solar energy companies like Pursol that manufacture photvoltaic systems and churn out hundreds if not thousands of lease arrangements to keep their product flowing into the market.
Image: Wayne National Forest on flickr.com.