The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort & Spa on St Maarten is not only the first Westin hotel or resort in the world – but also the only major resort in the Caribbean to date to utilize solar panels to replace its energy consumption throughout its property, according to representatives of Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
Columbia Sussex Corporation, the resort’s owner, enlisted the expertise of Anthony Prall Jr.’s Caribbean Energy Store to design a system to facilitate the resort’s 317 guest rooms, restaurants, restrooms, laundry facilities and spa.
“There are hotels and resorts utilizing solar power for specific areas, such as heating pools and water, bungalows or, if it is a small property, replacing nearly all energy use with solar,” said Prall Jr. in a written release. “However, the Westin St. Maarten is unique in that it is a large resort and its ultimate goal is to use solar energy for most of its overall fuel consumption.”
Phase one of the solar photovoltaic system has been installed on the resort’s roof and includes 480 Suntech solar panels, with 1,200 solar panels installed by 2014. The resort began taking advantage of the island’s abundance of sunshine in 2007 with the installation of solar panels to heat the water used in the property’s guest rooms.
Phase one of the solar system will produce more than 3,660 Kilowatt hours of electricity per hour. According to the Prall, the system will avoid 40 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and 35,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide emissions over the next thirty years. It will also save 4,875 tons of oil, otherwise needed for electricity production, the equivalent of planting 2,500 trees annually.