- InterContinental Group Hotels & Resorts is now providing community solar offerings to IHG hotels in select U.S. markets, the company announced Wednesday. The initiative is a partnership with Boston-based Ampion, a provider of community solar solutions.
- The program is active in states that have legislation supporting community solar, contingent on available capacity, and is currently available for hotels across Illinois, Maine and Maryland.
- IHG claims it’s the first hotel company to provide properties with a community solar offering that includes renewable energy certificates, which help hotels offset greenhouse gas emissions, something the company is prioritizing as part of its 10-year responsible business plan.
Community solar offerings generate electricity from local solar panel projects, which are then fed onto the area power grid. Hotels participating in IHG’s program can subscribe to a portion of the projects’ output in exchange for RECs and discounted electricity bills.
Hotels using solar power stand to reduce electricity charges by up to 10%, according to IHG’s announcement, and enrolled hotels can credibly claim to be powered by renewable energy. Hotels can choose to opt in on an individual basis for no subscription fee or upfront costs.
“Where community solar is available, it is an ideal solution for hotel owners because they can access renewable energy without the capital costs you would incur by installing onsite solar panels, which only cover a portion of a hotel’s energy needs,” Townsend Bailey, IHG’s head of corporate responsibility, Americas, told Hotel Dive.
Bailey also noted that participating IHG hotels will support the development of local solar projects in their communities, which in turn create local jobs and improve the air quality.
Enrolled hotels in Illinois, Maine and Maryland represent 30% of the IHG’s energy footprint in those states, the company said. Their opt-in would be equivalent to converting 5,700 average U.S. homes to renewable energy.
Not all states can access community solar, however, as it requires certain legislation. According to the Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, about one-third of states had policies in place to support community solar as of 2020, though it also noted the practice was “rapidly growing.”
“We are actively monitoring opportunities in all states where there is a supportive regulatory environment and available capacity,” said Bailey. IHG’s announcement noted that the offering would roll out to more states “soon.”
In states without community solar options, IHG hotels can purchase RECs to offset their own energy consumption. The InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta hotel purchased RECs to cover its estimated emissions from 2023 electricity usage, and IHG purchased RECs to cover a portion of its energy use at its corporate headquarters in Atlanta.
IHG is prioritizing emissions reduction with Journey to Tomorrow, its 10-year responsible business plan launched in 2021. The plan includes a pledge to reduce emissions from the energy used across the company’s owned, managed, leased and franchised real estate by 46% by 2030. It also noted a commitment to maximize and optimize the role of renewable energy at IHG.