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Hospitality Sector Embracing ‘Mature’ Solar Thermal Technology

Solar America Solutions has been on the leading edge of solar thermal technology since the introduction of our patented SunQuest 250™ solar thermal collector panel in 2011. Over the years, we have installed our systems across multiple commercial sectors including agriculture, education, and government. We are thrilled that the hospitality sector is now getting on board with solar thermal for both hot water and space heating.

The hospitality sector has come to understand how cost-effective solar thermal solutions are for providing hot water at hotels and resorts where it has often been a key budgetary and maintenance concern. Solar America Solutions is once again leading the way, as evidenced by a great story just published by Glenn Hasek in a recent edition of Green Lodging News.

Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead installation

Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead installation

Hasek’s article discussed how hotels and resorts are taking advantage of the sun’s potential as an energy source to heat water for on-site consumption. Hasek specifically mentioned hotels in Haiti, French Polynesia, and the U.S. He also contrasted the difference between the evacuated tube technology, like the technology Solar America Solutions utilizes, and more traditional flat-panel collectors.

Evacuated Tube Technology Now ‘Mature’

The title of Hasek’s article implies that solar technology is now mature enough for widespread adoption within the hospitality sector. If that is the case, and we believe it is, the maturity being spoken of here is not in the sense that solar technology has had to overcome a lot of technical problems to be useful. Rather, it is mature in the sense that people are more willing to use it than in the past, despite the fact that the science behind it has been well understood for decades.

In the case of our solar thermal collector, the science behind evacuated tubes is nothing new. When we adapted the evacuated tube paradigm for our design, we knew from the start it would work – and work well. Evacuated solar thermal tubes are highly efficient machines capable of harnessing energy from the sun and creating heat energy from it with very little loss.

From our earliest installations at an Indiana corrections facility and an Ohio poultry operation, we knew evacuated tubes were the way to go for space heat and hot water in commercial buildings. Evacuated tube collectors are incredibly efficient and they require a very small footprint. They even work on cloudy and overcast days as well as the coldest winter days because they utilize ultraviolet rays rather than the sun’s infrared rays.

The Grand Hyatt Atlanta

To illustrate the maturity of solar thermal, Hasek discussed our installation at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead last summer. We installed a 20-panel system on the roof of the 439-room hotel to provide hot water for both public consumption and to supplement the hotel’s aging boilers.

According to hotel management, guests used to call with complaints about hot water on a regular basis before installation. In the 10 months since, the hotel has not received a single complaint. Furthermore, the boilers only need to be fired up on weekends and during extremely busy periods. This implementation at the Buckhead, Georgia Grand Hyatt has also resulted in a 60% reduction in their natural gas cost.

Both the hotel and Solar America Solutions expect the solar thermal system to last more than two decades. The hotel believes it will recoup its investment within three years, saving a tremendous amount thereafter.

While there is a place for flat-panel solar collection in the vast universe that is renewable energy, we believe evacuated tube technology is far superior for many reasons. The hospitality industry is coming to understand that as well. Solar America Solutions will continue developing both the technology and our relationship with the hospitality sector in the hope that solar-powered hot water systems will become a mainstream, viable option for hotels and resorts around the world.


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