- Associated Press - Monday, January 12, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A Santa Fe hotel is now powering its guest rooms with sunshine.

Guest rooms at the Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda and Spa are now 100 percent solar-powered as part of an effort by the hotel and Stay.Solar, a new company looking to bring solar power to the hotel industry.

Despite New Mexico’s abundance of sunshine, there are no solar panels on the roof of the hotel. Instead, the electricity is produced at large-scale solar installations elsewhere and is delivered to the hotel by smart-grid technology.

“It’s kind of like depositing money in a bank in New York and pulling it out of an ATM machine somewhere else,” said Stay.Solar president Don Hicks.

Officials said guests won’t notice anything different - other than a sign on the hotel registration desk and in each room explaining the solar sourcing.

Hotel Santa Fe is the first hotel to convert to all-solar power with Stay.Solar.

“To be the first out of the gate with this company, we are very excited about that,” said hotel spokesman Steve Lewis. “It felt like a really good fit.”

The 163-room Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda and Spa is majority-owned by Picuris Pueblo, an American Indian community north of Santa Fe.

Stay.Solar is looking to expand the program to other high-end boutique hotels around the country.

The solar-generated electricity does cost more to produce than power from conventional sources like coal: “It’s a premium product,” said Hicks.

Customers sign up as part of a commitment to green business practices, not to save money, officials said.

As long-term demand for solar energy grows, advocates said the cost of producing it is expected to drop.

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