Boost Your Hotel's Bottom Line With a Solar Water Heating System

Brian Bishop
Boost Your Hotel's Bottom Line With a Solar Water Heating System

To many hotel managers, environmental sustainability may seem at best like a secondary goal or at worst a drag on the bottom line due to upfront costs. Still, the long-term savings and sustainability benefits are hard to ignore. The state of California and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) are working together to help ensure that the massive, long-term cost savings of sustainable practices — such as using solar energy to heat water — come at an affordable upfront cost.

Solar water heating in particular, due to its direct correlation with heavily reduced fossil fuel usage, is the subject of a number of programs to encourage businesses to adopt the technology. In fact, some businesses are eligible for rebates of up to $800,0001 when they install solar water heating systems, which have been shown to reduce gas bills by 50% to 80%.2

There are a lot of variables involved in determining how much making the move to solar water heating can cost — and what kind of rebates and deals are available. As a preliminary measure for understanding the benefits of making the switch, hotel managers can take a look at the variables that are already at their disposal:3,4

  • Amount of hot water their facility uses per month
  • Geographic location of the property and ability to capture sunlight
  • Price of natural gas

The amount of hot water a hotel uses per month will determine how big a system is needed — but it will also determine how big the savings will be. While the upfront cost of a large system can be daunting, it’s important to remember not only the potential rebates and incentives but also the larger savings over the life of the system. Larger systems yield larger savings for the same reason that if milk starts costing a dollar less per gallon, households that buy more milk save more.

Meanwhile, the property’s ability to capture sunlight, ideally from the roof, will be a major determining factor for how effective solar heating can be. Fortunately, you don’t need a ton of spare space on your roof to get the most out of solar water heating. While the solar water heating array does take up space on the roof, it is much smaller than solar PV panels that generate electricity.5

While those factors can help you get a rough idea of how much your hotel — and your hotel’s bottom line — can benefit from solar water heating, it helps to talk with experts about your specific case. You can engage a contractor to evaluate other key variables6, such as:

  • Greater insights into hot water needs
  • How best to design a system to meet those needs
  • How big a rebate, tax credit and return on investment can be expected
  • Which financing options best fit the situation

To learn more about how your hotel could benefit, download PG&E’s eBook, “Solar Water Heating for Businesses.”

Referenced in article:

  1. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  2. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  3. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  4. Solar Water Heating for Business eBook
  5. Greenpower Technology
  6. Pacific Gas and Electric Company