The Holiday Inn Express-Carpinteria has activated its new solar power generating system, consisting of over 500 solar panels installed on new carports built in its parking lot.
According to a press release, the new system is expected to replace about 75% of the hotel’s electricity use over the course of one year. In an interview with the News-Press, hotel general manager Michael Ensign said this is expected to result in savings between $15,000 and $20,000 annually.
The Carpinteria hotel began the process of installing solar panels in 2018 in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint and “keeping with our desire to be as green as possible,” according to Mr. Ensign. Installing the solar panels started in late 2019 and finished in early 2020, a process through which the hotel was on “a time crunch” to finish construction. Mr. Ensign explained that the hotel was eligible to receive state tax benefits for installing the solar panels, so long as the project was substantially complete by the end of 2019.
Installing the panels was completed before COVID-19 restrictions went into effect, a complication that the general manager is very happy to have avoided.
“It would have been kind of a mess if we were trying to do this with all of the limitations,” he said.
Having the solar panels serve as the hotel’s one and only source of electricity isn’t possible, as The Holiday Inn Express-Carpinteria is only allowed to have the panels cover 75% of its electricity. According to Mr. Ensign, having the solar panels cover 100% of the hotel’s electricity would inevitably put electricity back into the power grid, which commercial establishments are not allowed to do under Southern California Edison rules. The utility was involved in the power system’s engineering and it was designed accordingly.
“We’re only allowed to do 75%, so that’s how the system was engineered,” Mr. Ensign said.