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Lancaster County Courtyard by Marriott to go 100% solar, first hotel in the country

East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County -- A Lancaster County hotel will soon make history, becoming the first in the nation to be completely solar powered. The owner of the Courtyard by Marriott-Lancaster, High Hotels, hopes the change will make a difference in the environment.

“Knowing that we are doing one small thing to help the environment out. We hope that we are a model for others,” said Russ Urban, President of High Hotels.

The construction of the solar field is in high gear but you would never know by looking around the Courtyard by Marriott-Lancaster on Hospitality Drive. The solar field is located on a building about a mile away on Greenfield Road.

Proximity is key to this project. To make it work, the hotel and the solar field need to be no more than about a mile apart. High Hotels found this hotel and matched it to one of their buildings just across Route 30.

High hotels decided about two years ago to move forward with the $1.5 million project. In all, 2,700 panels, more than two football fields worth of solar attractors, will grace the roof top. This will pair up with some electricity changes already happening at the hotel, like a LED changeover that just finished.

“This project will kind of top off those green initiatives by making us 100% solar and not relying on any outside grid,” said Jeremy Geib, General Manager of the Courtyard by Marriott-Lancaster.

Once installation is complete the panels will capture the sunlight, about 1.2 million kilowatts a year, sending it to a meter and then onto the grid to be designated for the hotel. It’s a massive financial undertaking but one High Hotels says is worth the effort.

“It’s especially good for all of our coworkers. They have a sense of pride that their company thinks so much about the environment that they are going to make this type of investment,” Urban said.

The system is designed to capture even more energy than necessary to power the hotel. Any excess power will be sold back to PPL.

“It’s inspiring that the company that owns the hotel that signs all of our paychecks is willing to make an investment like that for the sustainability of environment,” Geib said.

The project is expected to go online some time in September.

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