Even with falling subsidies, solar still makes sense.
The UK hotel chain Premier Inn already had an impressive portfolio of 88 hotels with solar on their rooftops. Now Business Green reports that it's expanding on that commitment, promising a further 70 rooftop solar projects in the coming months—with a combined capacity of 1.6MW.
Of course, 1.6MW—even when added to the existing portfolio to create just over 3MW—is not all that big when you consider supermarket chain Sainsbury's was aiming for 40MW back in 2014. But this does represent the largest commitment of its kind from a UK hotel chain, and I think there's something powerful about hotels going green.
As I experienced in my tour of The Mayton Inn in Cary, North Carolina, the hotels we stay in become temporary homes of sorts. So we experience their green efforts in a slightly different way than we do a solar rooftop on the grocery store we choose to shop at.
For many, a stay at a Premier Inn might be the first time they've consciously experienced the lights or TV they turn on (or off!) being partially powered directly from the sun. Assuming that Premier Inn does a good job of communicating this fact to its guests, there's a good potential to spread the good word about solar to a broader, receptive audience.
It's also encouraging to hear that projects like this are going ahead, even despite cuts to government support. Business Green quotes Steve Shine, executive chairman of solar developer Anesco, as follows:
"What this project proves is that despite cuts to the feed in tariffs, solar is still a viable option for businesses. There continues to be a growing appetite among commercial organisations, for energy efficiency and renewable technologies, as a tried-and-tested model for reducing energy costs, while improving sustainability and lowering emissions."
Here's hoping the competition catches on fast.