Top 3 Solar Water Heating Strategies for Hotels
When vacationers come to your hotel, they want a worry-free experience. Short showers may be the norm in their own homes, but at your establishment, they expect all of the creature comforts that come with leisurely travel. And for many, that means a long, hot shower.
But with hot water heating being the single largest energy expense in the hospitality industry, long guest showers can send your already escalating energy bill off the chart.
Solar Water Heating to the Rescue
Many hotels install solar water heating systems to protect themselves against skyrocketing utility costs; dramatically reducing energy bills by as much as 80 percent or more.
Here are three strategies to help maximize the ROI of a hot water solar installation:
1. Take Advantage of Incentives
There are a range of federal, state and utility incentives for property managers who make “green” improvements. By combining many of these subsidies and tax credits you can reduce the upfront cost of your solar water heating installation by as up to 50 percent or more.For a complete list of solar-related benefits in your region, visit the Database for State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE).
2. Pay for Quality
While it is possible to install solar water heating on your own, there are several important advantages of paying a professional to complete the job:
- Many of the more lucrative incentives mandate that energy efficiency improvements be completed by licensed contractors. DIY improvements may not always qualify for these generous benefits.
- Certain manufacturer warranties require that licensed professionals handle the installation. So if you do not go with a professional installation and something fails, even under warranty, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for repairs.
- A well-installed solar water heater can last 30 years or longer — well beyond the 10 years that comes standard with many warranties.
- Contracting a qualified professional can increase the useful lifetime of your installation.
Though the upfront cost of DIY installations may be lower, when you factor in incentives, warranties and longevity, hiring a licensed contractor is a much cheaper way to go.
3. Finance with a Loan
Some hotels cannot afford to install solar water heaters — even after factoring in relevant incentives. A low-interest loan can make it possible to finance your system and still realize instant savings.Most solar loans are structured so that monthly payments to the bank are less than what you were paying to your local utility company. And once you pay the loan in full, you own the system outright.Still too costly? Try deploying solar water heating in phases. Purchase a smaller system that you can afford and use your utility bill savings to finance the next installment.
Solar Water Heating – an Investment That Pays for Itself
Done correctly, installing solar water heating at your hotel can deliver decades of financial and environmental dividends, including:
- Immediate and long-term utility bill reductions
- The ability to shrink your hotel’s carbon footprint
- Widespread appeal for eco-conscious vacationers
Most important, solar hot water is an investment that pays for itself — especially when using the right strategies for optimizing returns.
Ryan McNeill is the president of Renewable Energy Corporation, one of the Mid-Atlantic’s largest residential solar energy companies – committed to installing quality, American-made solar panels and energy products for homeowners.
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