Crystal Springs Resort has commenced commercial operations of the largest resort-based solar farm in the Northeastern United States. Developed in partnership with New Jersey-based Marina Energy, the 25-acre, 3.5-MW solar field has over 19,000 solar panels.
Development of this solar farm aligns with other efforts taken by the Resort in pursuit of ongoing environmental stewardship, such as its recent partnership with Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) and the New Jersey Audubon Society to create new habitat for bees, butterflies and birds on one of its six golf course properties. Crystal Springs Resort is also a member of the New Jersey Audubon Corporate Stewardship Council, which emphasizes voluntary environmental stewardship, sustainability, conservation partnerships and public education.
“We recognize that our guests visit us not only for our wide array of amenities but also for enjoyment of the Resort’s beautiful natural surroundings, so it is only fitting that we should take steps to minimize our impact on the environment to help preserve it for generations to come,” said Chris Mulvihill, chief marketing officer at Crystal Springs. “While we are taking many other steps in the area of sustainability such as the use of LED lighting, paper straws, locally sourced menu ingredients and biodegradable organic laundry detergent, we really like to be able to use superlatives when we describe the resort, so I am very pleased to be able to say that New York City’s closest resort is now also the Northeast’s largest solar-powered resort.”
On an annual basis, the solar farm provides clean, renewable energy that more than offsets electricity consumption at the Resort’s 280-room Grand Cascades Lodge and 175-room Minerals Hotel combined. The project has qualified for net metering under New Jersey’s solar program, which means the resort always maintains a stable source of electricity supply by drawing from the grid at night and other low solar generation periods while providing excess energy to the grid.
The solar field came online in September.
With criticism mounting on the wastefulness of the conference and meetings industry, Mulvihill said that a large consideration driving this project was the Resort’s desire to position itself as an option for New York City organizations seeking to reduce the environmental impact of their offsite meetings.
“Offsite meetings and company retreats are a big part of our business, and it’s important to understand that taking 100 executives on jets to meet in a remote location not only costs money and time, it also has a major environmental cost,” Mulvihill said. “By contrast, we can send group shuttle service to Manhattan and have a company’s team at our resort in less time than it takes to get through airport security. So it is great to now be able to tell our conference clients that not only do their attendees not have to fly, but they can also wake up in the morning knowing they slept in a solar-powered hotel.”
In addition to taking steps to lessen its guests’ impact on the environment, the resort has also developed a number of offerings with themes of sustainability including local farm tours, guided nature hikes, foraging classes and the construction of beehives to support the rebuilding of the local bee population.
“While we recognize that the primary purpose of a company’s offsite meeting may be to provide training, updates on new product rollouts and other corporate initiatives, it never hurts to enhance an event with additional experiences that can give attendees a connection with nature and inspire them to be better stewards of our environment,” Mulvihill said. “After all, happy, inspired employees tend to be more productive.”
News item from Crystal Springs Resort