Cogenra Solar recently completed the world’s first solar cogeneration system at a hotel—and a five-star hotel, at that—on the rooftop the Hotel Real InterContinental in San Salvador, El Salvador. It’s the first project that Cogenra has announced internationally and could lead to more projects with the Real Hotels and Resorts/InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).
The system, which produces electricity and hot water, is designed to reduce the hotel’s energy costs. “The majority of cost savings will be from the heat generated, not the PV,” said Katie Struble, a spokesperson for Cogenra
Those costs can be considerable, up to 15 percent of the hotel’s total expenses. The 122 kilowatt solar cogeneration system consists of 48 SunPack modules which will produce 24,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually while decreasing the hotel's hot water fuel consumption by the equivalent of 120,000 kilowatt hours annually. On top of the electricity the system will produce daily, it will approximately 16,000 liters of hot water daily for showers, laundry, cleaning, and food-preparation.
The system was installed in about six weeks by THINKnrg, according to Cogenra.
The hotel purchased it outright and it is has an expected payback period of less than 5 years. The system is a pilot for IHG's Central America hotels and it may deploy more of them throughout the region. IGH has hotels in at least six countries in Central America.
“The majority of our installations to date are rooftop, including recently installed projects at Kendall-Jackson Winery and Clover Stornetta in Northern California,” Struble said. “Other rooftop customers include Facebook and GH, Inc., and we recently launched into solar cooling with a rooftop installation at SoCalGas. Solar cooling drastically expands the market for solar cogeneration to new customers like data centers, retail outlets and commercial offices.” However, the company also has built ground-mounted systems.
While its the first international system that Cogenra’s announced, it has more in the works. “Cogenra has solar cogeneration projects operating or in development in 5 countries located in Europe, Asia and Central and South America,” said Struble.