Heat water or have light or other services through solar or photovoltaic panels and thanks to the sun practically spends the winter in Benidorm and the Costa Blanca. One out of four hotels is already betting on renewable energies for self-consumption and to be able to meet energy costs. A trend that is expanding and the forecast is that more accommodations will join to generate their own energy from their buildings.
Of the 168 members of the Hosbec hotel association, 25% have this type of installation, according to data provided by the organization. Some of them started years ago the installation of solar or photovoltaic panels, or even other systems. Because they are not the same. Thermal solar panels are used to heat water; photovoltaic panels are devices that capture solar radiation through solar cells to generate electricity. And these are the ones that can help address the high electricity bill costs faced by individuals, but also by hotels.
Using systems like these can cover up to 10 to 30% of a hotel's electricity demand, according to Hosbec's general secretary, Nuria Montes. The figures are clear: according to a study by an energy company that was presented to the Hosbec hotel employers' association, solar panels could reduce the annual cost of final energy by up to 34% and reduce CO2 emissions by 57%, based on the example of a four-star hotel with 150 rooms. The investment in solar panels on hotel roofs can be recovered in four years.
Having photovoltaic panels is practically "the only alternative" left for hotels to "offset costs". The "self-production" of energy can help to compensate the rises in electricity costs, among others, although "it is necessary to rely on traditional electrical energy", explained the head of the hotel association. "You have to cover what you can't reach. For example, the night hours when there is no sun and electricity is not generated in the panels; you cannot reach all the consumption that a hotel has with only this renewable energy system," she explained.
But they do "alleviate" costs a little. For this reason, hotels are beginning to include in their future plans the installation of these panels to generate energy, both solar and photovoltaic; or even the new model of "mixed" panels, i.e., which can perform both functions, generating heat and energy. An option that is increasingly being considered for space.
"Many hotels face a difficulty, the surface area they have to install these panels," said Montes. Vertical and elevated constructions mean that there is little space on rooftops, but that does not prevent hotels from betting on these renewable energies and looking for space in their facilities. Thus, according to Montes, there are also restrictions on the distance from where the solar panels are installed and where the energy they generate can be consumed. "Before it was 500 meters and it was raised to 2 kilometers, but in Benidorm there are no solar panels available at that distance from the hotels to put installations," said the head of Hosbec.
Therefore, hotels try to take advantage of the space they have; some even the roof of the terraces at the bottom. Others have found space to place them at the top. This is the case of one of the latest establishments that have decided to bet on this energy. The Primavera Park Hotel, in the heart of Benidorm, has been installing solar panels for a month in its highest part, just above the swimming pool on the 17th floor. The owner, Sara Mayor, explained to this newspaper that"we have opted for self-consumption" to be able to afford part of the energy needed for the facilities. In her case, photovoltaic panels have been installed to generate this precious element and to be able to offset the costs they face every month.
The forecast made by the hotel employers is that the number of accommodations that are committed to having panels in their buildings will increase in the coming months. Many establishments already have in place requests to be able to generate their own energy, although some of them have been waiting for months to obtain the authorizations from both the City Council and the Consell. And is that depending on the number of plates you want to install, the procedures are municipal, in the case of smaller size, or regional for those of greater capacity. This means, according to Montes, that there are projects "that may be delayed until 2024 or 2025".
Bureaucracy is something that worries those who have in mind to bet on this type of energy. Even more so when the Generalitat Valenciana has approved a line of aid with Next Generation Funds to promote this type of installation. "There will be more demand after these subsidies are published," said Montes.
Other options to reduce the electricity bill
The plates of both types or mixed are a good "ally" for the lodgings. Although many already put "patches" to the sharp rises in the cost of light that have occurred in recent months. "The light now seems to have peaked and is more stable," Montes said. But the price increase happened, and a lot of it. "There were hotels that negotiated long-term supply contracts with the companies to be able to afford the price," he said.
Thus, for example, a 4-star hotel of about 200 rooms can consume an average of one gigawatt per year. "Agreements of 4--5 gigawatts have been closed with large distributors to meet those costs in the long term," Montes said.
Other options available with energy communities or PPAs (Power Purchase Agreement). The latter is a bilateral contract for the purchase and sale of energy from renewable energy sources at a predetermined price, for a previously established period of time and generally on a long-term basis.