Marriott to Build Its First Fully Solar-Powered Hotel In The United States

High Hotels Ltd. has announced that it is building a $1.5 million solar array, and once it is completed, it will generate 100-percent of the electrical power that is required to operate one of its existing hotels in Greenfield Corporate Center.

This completed installation will make the 133-room Courtyard by Marriott-Lancaster—which is located at 1931 Hospitality Drive in Lancaster, Pennsylvania—the first Marriott-branded hotel in the entire United States with 100 percent of its electricity needs to be generated from solar power. It is also believed by some experts to be the first solar array in the country that is being installed entirely 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,” continued Urban. “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 Inc. 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.