Now, more than ever, the hotel and hospitality industries are under increasing pressure from competition. Traditional hotels are trying to remain relevant, while firms like Airbnb, the home rental app slowly eat into their profits. To preserve their profits, hotels must leverage every available advantage to sustain profitability. Onsite electricity generation via solar panels is arguably the best strategy to accomplish continued viability. Hotels are an especially good fit for solar in our current economic environment. The following are four ways the hotel industry will benefit.
Electricity Bill Savings
Savings on electric costs is the most obvious benefit and contribution to the financial bottom line. Solar panels will generate electricity and drop it right into the hotels existing electrical systems. The solar power generated is a supplement to the existing grid connection. The electricity generated will offset consumption that would have otherwise come from the grid. The more solar power generated, the lower the utility bill. Electricity savings will ultimately drive the return on investment for the solar panels. Without an alternative energy source, the only way to lower electricity bills at the hotel is through energy efficiency projects or by lowering occupancy. Solar financing is now available so these projects are being executed with zero upfront cost – meaning almost immediate savings on electricity.
To learn more check out our solar finance blog.
Hotels are unique in that they are typically in locations with high traffic and visibility, such as the exit ramp of a highway. This makes marketing a solar asset very easy and obvious. Customers aligned with your environmental statement are far more likely to choose your solar hotel amidst the options of other traditional hotel buildings.
Not all hotels are owned by the company on the front of their building. Many are franchises, meaning the owner is private but pays to use the name. In that arrangement, the parent company (ex. Holiday Inn) will still impose regulations on how that hotel operates and conducts business. More often than not hotels are required to reduce their energy use as part of their agreement to keep the franchise licensing. Doing a solar project checks that box – likely for years to come, easing pressure on management to complete smaller energy reduction projects
Attracting Electric Vehicle Customers
Whether the hotel industry is prepared or not, Electric Vehicles (EV’s) are coming to their parking lots. Whether the cars are privately owned or company fleets, the vehicles will need to be charged during their stay. Hotels that expect to compete for the business of large corporations and eco-minded tourist must start installing solar, and EV Charging stations today. Offering free EV charging stations to your customers will position the hotel to appeal to the increasing numbers of guests who are driving electric vehicles. Future expectations are that hotel firms will be pushed from the market for their lack of ability to adapt to EV’s.
How a Ludington, Michigan Company Went Solar with Three Hotels
We caught up with Jeff Curtis, Manager of three separately franchised hotels in Ludington Michigan to hear about their decision to go solar:
“We were very interested in the idea of adding renewable energy for our three hotels located in Western Michigan. We saw several benefits from installing solar grids on the Hotels.”
“The first benefit was obvious, savings on electrical utilities, with electricity being one of the largest operating expenses. The second is, most franchises are requiring the franchisees (us) to reduce our carbon footprint. Franchisors are requiring proof that the hotels are reducing energy year after year. And the third benefit is marketing our hotels as a green lodging property in our marketing plan. We found more and more guests were seeking environmentally conscious lodging options.”
“We knew solar was the way to go as a company, but we started with little knowledge of solar systems. We contacted several solar companies in Michigan asking for more information. Michigan Solar Solutions (MSS) was by far the most helpful.”
“MSS set up a meeting at our location with three employees, the owner of MSS and our management team. The meeting was very helpful in bringing our team up to speed with solar. They answered questions about most beneficial system size, the best location of the system (i.e., ground mount vs. roof mount), tax benefits, available federal grants, types of electrical billing, AC vs. DC, the estimated pay off of the system, how the system would be monitored after installation, and what the long-term maintenance would be. MSS gathered our billing information and quickly returned a proposal that would best fit each hotel. After doing an electrical analysis report, MSS shared with us that we could save thousands each year just by changing the way we are currently billed with Consumers Energy. The cost of changing the billing type was nothing, just filling out paperwork.”
“We signed a contract with MSS to install three solar systems for our hotels. We are very satisfied with Michigan Solar Systems and would highly recommend them for anyone looking for solar solutions.“
Your Next Step?
Have a conversation with a Commercial Solar Consultant to explore whether solar is a good fit for your hospitality business.
If you or another business is interested in having an undeniable impact on your triple bottom line give us a call for a free consultation to see if solar is right for you! Call (248) 923-3456 or request a Free Online Solar Analysis for Your Business.
Michigan Solar Solutions is a commercial and residential solar installer and electrical contractor that has served the lower peninsula of Michigan since 2007. We have installed thousands of panels and have a happy customer near you, check out what our customers think of us Guild Quality.