Wine and sunshine combine at Palisade hotel

Installation soon should be complete on a solar energy system at the Wine Country Inn.

The photovoltaic system is being installed on the main guest house of the hotel complex in Palisade and is expected to reduce electricity costs as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

“The owners decided that it made good economic as well as ecological sense to take advantage of the incentives offered to encourage solar power utilization,” said Jerome Strack, general manager at the Wine Country Inn.

Sunsense Solar of Carbondale beat out two other companies in a competitive bidding process to install the nearly 51-kilowatt system.  “We started talking to various solar vendors last August, reviewed each presentation and bid, then made our decision after much careful deliberation,” Strack said.

The solar system is expected to generate about 20 percent of the electricity used at the hotel, in turn reducing electricity costs about $6,400 in the first year of operation.

Guests will be able to see how much electricity the system generates through a flat screen television monitor installed near the front desk in the lobby. “We expect that the energy generation monitor will be interesting and will have educational value for our guests,” Strack said.

In addition to reducing electricity costs, the system to expected to reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of more than 3.2 million miles of automobile use.

The Wine Country Inn already has implemented other conservation practices by installing fluorescent lighting throughout the complex and using programmable thermostats and motion detectors on heating and cooling units in guest rooms. The hotel also purchases eco-friendly products and recycles materials.