Sunny Tripowers chosen for Hampton Inn carport

This post was originally published in 2014. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

The Bakersfield Hampton Inn & Suites celebrated the commissioning of its 102 kW (DC) carport solar system with a ceremony in the shade, the hotel’s newest must-see attraction. Not to be overshadowed by the sun-blocking array, the 94-room hotel is looking forward to the cost savings recognized by the carport system, with monthly returns of nearly $9,000.

The system will produce 44 percent of the hotel’s annual energy demands as it continues to look for opportunities to reduce business expenses and environmental impact. Thankfully, installing solar achieves both goals.

Starting from scratch
The carport system, as seen from above, now commissioned at the Bakersfield Hampton Inn & Suites. Photo courtesy of REC Solar.

The carport system, as seen from above, now commissioned at the Bakersfield Hampton Inn & Suites. Photo courtesy of REC Solar.

REC designed and coordinated the construction effort, partnering with M Bar C Construction for the carport’s mounting and racking solution and Sunny Tripower inverters to convert the REC modules’ energy into AC. The carport system also features two electric vehicle charging stations and can easily be retrofitted to handle eight charging stations in the future.

The three carport sections provide coverage for 30 guests, an incredible benefit during summer months when temperatures regularly climb well past 100 degrees in Bakersfield, located in the heart of California’s Central Valley, and known for its hot summers. The three-section design and high summer temperatures created an ideal situation for a decentralized system with the Sunny Tripower, which boasts an operating temperature of up to 140 degrees, hotter than the highest recorded temperature in the U.S.

All day and all night

Hotels have one distinct difference in their power demands compared to other businesses: the need for round-the-clock lighting and HVAC throughout the building. These demands account for the majority of the hotel’s consumption and are especially difficult to reduce.

The decision to offset those demands with solar power left one question: how to perform the installation without disturbing residents staying in the hotel’s top floor? The risk of alienating customers was too high and the costs of closing the top floor too expensive, making carports an even more attractive option. In addition, the hotel’s new look, with solar visible from street level, has become a marketing opportunity for green-minded travelers.

Powering people

Bakersfield city officials gathered with representatives from Hampton Inn & Suites, REC and SMA America for a ribbon-cutting and system commissioning event to praise more than just clean energy: economic benefits. The carport system will be paid back in less than eight years, freeing up money that will allow the hotel’s management to reinvest in other guest accommodations and improvements.

City officials also commended the jobs and economic boost the solar system provided while making the carport system a reality. As the install base for solar continues to climb, these economic benefits will have increasingly positive effects and offer a new, sunny boom for the Central Valley economy for years to come.

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