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SAN FRANCISCO-Already certified by city officials here as a green business, the Hotel Carlton in San Francisco’s lower Nob Hill area recently became the first hotel in San Francisco to install solar panels on its roof. Hotel manager Joie de Vivre Hospitality says the array is expected to reduce the 161-room hotel’s electricity usage by 12%.

The installation is a partnership of Hotel Carlton and Sunlight Electric, a locally based provider of photovoltaic systems for the commercial market. The duo installed 105 solar panels that cover 1,332 sf of the hotel’s roof and a computer monitor in the lobby whereby guests can monitor the total kilowatt energy generated by the solar power system. The balance of the energy used is being offset through the hotel’s participation with Carbonfund.org.

Located at 1075 Sutter St., Hotel Carlton last year became certified as a green business by the city. The hotel has a comprehensive recycling program and uses environmentally-friendly non-chemical cleaning products, recycled paper and soy-based inks. Hotel rooms have motion light detectors in the closets and low flow shower heads and toilets. Instead of a soda machine the hotel has installed a complimentary filtered water machine.

A source with Sunlight Electric tells GlobeSt.com the Hotel Carlton’s solar system was completed within the last month and that it is one of three or four installations it is working on in Downtown San Francisco. The urban installations are relatively new for the company, whose clients include many wineries, organic farms and creameries.

Joie de Vivre Hospitality has managed Hotel Carlton since mid-2003; the hotel is owned by local investors. The cost of the solar panel array was $164,000 ($24,000 after subsidies). The total AC watts produced by the solar panel array are 18,500.

Joie de Vivre Hospitality plans to fete the installation on Earth Day (April 21) with an afternoon reception in the hotel’s Saha Restaurant and guided tours of the solar panel array.

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