The Sun Shines on the Inn at Morro Bay


MORRO BAY You can’t miss them. Drive into the parking lot at the Inn at Morro Bay and they are there standing out, bright and shiny, on the roof of the main building that houses the offices, restaurant, meeting rooms, and beautiful lounge — solar panels! They’ve also been installed on the roof of the buildings with the guest rooms.

General Manager Charlie Yates was excited to tell that the Inn is committed to its responsibility toward the environment and taking all steps to reduce their carbon footprint. This is the first step and what the environmental community hopes get taken up by other hotels and motels.

The Inn has installed 582 solar panels of 275 W each for a total system size of 160.05 Kilowatts.  This system will produce approximately 275,000 Kilowatt-hours (KWh) of energy annually. That is 67.7 percent of their total energy consumption each year. This is equivalent to reducing the carbon-dioxide emission of 178,891 pounds or recycling 57 tons of waste going to the landfill or saving about 193 acres of the forest.

During the last three years the Inn’s owner, Pacifica Companies has embarked on a major mission to reduce its carbon footprint and has installed over 10 Megawatts of Solar photovoltaic systems on over 50 properties under its portfolio.

Pacifica partnered with Soorya Unlimited for installation thanks to an attractive financial package that includes the federal government’s 30 percent tax credit with accelerated depreciation that equals 100 percent in the first year.

“Taking those incentives into account this installation will be free in as short as two and half years,” commented Yates. “The entire solar equipment is warranted for 25 years, which means that after two and a half years, we will be enjoying 67% of electricity for free.”

Yates went on to say that Soorya Unlimited has installed solar energy systems now on more than 30 properties and consistently delivers a high-quality system using only Top Tier Solar Panels and Micro-Inverters.  “It’s very unusual that Soorya Unlimited uses Micro-Inverters on commercial installations,” Yates said, “which are much more expensive and are primarily used for residential Installations. The complicated engineering design required is possible with the in-house capabilities of this vendor.

“More companies are switching to solar,” Yates explained “and as much as we would like to think environmental issues are a main driver, the reality is the financial benefits tend to be of greater interest.  With PG&E charging as much a $0.56 for a single kWh of energy, returns on investment are great.  Environmental benefits just happen to be one of the side effects of making an investment in solar.”

Even though it’s foggy in Morro Bay a lot of the time, the sun shines often enough to make going solar more than just a financial investment. Hopefully, the town will see more of its tourist businesses following in the footsteps of the Inn.


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