Above: the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa in St Maarten
By the Caribbean Journal staff
A resort in St Maarten is taking the concept of sustainability to the next level.
The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa in St Maarten has completed its high-profile solar energy project, meaning it will now be able to use solar energy to produce between six and eight hours of its own power every day during peak hours.
The resort first launched its solar programme in 2007 with solar water heating systems, and has now installed a total of 2,602 Lightway solar panels producing 755 kilowatts of energy.
According to Columbia Sussex Corporation, which owns the resort, the solar system will produce around 1.223 million kilowatt hours every year, enough to power about 111 average American-sized homes.
It will also reduce the 317-room hotel’s carbon footprint by about 1.9 million pounds of CO2 emissions.
“In very few places around the world does it make better sense to utilize the power of the sun to generate electricity than in the Caribbean,” said Tim Blackwell, president of OneWorld Sustainable, which worked with Columbia Sussex on the project.
Another Westin resort, the Westin St John, is also adding a large solar array.