High Hotels announces $1.5M solar investment to power Courtyard by Marriott-Lancaster

High Hotels Ltd. is installing a $1.5 million solar array that, High officials say, will generate 100 percent of the electricity needed to operate the Courtyard by Marriott-Lancaster hotel.

The solar panels are being installed on the roof of a warehouse, which is owned by High and used by Kalas Manufacturing Inc. The warehouse is less than a mile away from the hotel. Both are located in East Lampeter Township. 

Once completed,the installation will make the 133-room Courtyard by Marriott-Lancaster the first Marriott hotel in the country to generate 100 percent of its electricity from solar power, High officials said. 

“We’re doing it because we really believe in sustainability. We have a lot of clients, a lot of folks, that stay in hotels that seek out opportunities to stay in a hotel that observes sustainability efforts. We think it’s going to be a differentiator for us short term and long term,” said Russ Urban, president of High Hotels.

More than 2,700 panels will fill the roof, which is more than two football fields in size.

Installation began last month and is expected to be completed in August, said Ty Espenshade, vice president of sales and marketing at Meadow Valley Electric Group Inc. in Clay Township. Meadow Valley is installing the panels.

Panels for the solar array are Q Cells manufactured by Hanwha Cells Co. Ltd., headquartered in South Korea. 

The power produced by the panels will flow into the electrical grid, and then it will be virtually metered over to the hotel by PPL Electric Utilities Corp., headquartered in Allentown. 

The solar array will produce more than 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of power for the hotel. The hotel will consume about 1.18 million.

“We’re basically putting the power into the grid, and then PPL is crediting their bill,” Espenshade said.

Any excess power will be sold back to PPL, Espenshade said.

High Hotels received a grant of $504,900 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development through the Solar Energy Program to complete the project.

“This is a cutting-edge project that is exactly the kind we are looking for to promote the generation and use of solar energy,” Dennis Davin, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, said in a statement.

High Hotels’ properties are franchised through Hilton Hotels Corp. and Marriott International Inc. The family-owned company currently operates three hotels in Mechanicsburg, two in Lancaster and one in York with others in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

Shelby White
Shelby White covers banking and finance, law and Lancaster County for the Central Penn Business Journal. For tips, email her at swhite@cpbj.com.

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