Crystal Springs Resort Opens Largest Resort-Based Solar Farm in Northeastern US
The resort’s 25-acre energy field is just one of the measures of sustainability that Crystal Springs is piloting
by Lark Gould
Crystal Springs Resort, a popular golf and fitness destination in New Jersey just over an hour’s drive from New York City, is making waves – lots of light waves, that is -- over its recent announcement to become the largest resort-based solar farm in the US northeast region.
Developed in partnership with New Jersey based Marina Energy, the 25-acre solar field contains 19,000 solar panels and has the annual capacity to generate 3.5 megawatts of electricity, which is more power than is consumed annually by the Resort’s two hotels.
Development of this solar farm aligns with a number of efforts taken by the resort in pursuit of ongoing environmental stewardship. These include a 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,” says Resort Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Mulvihill. “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.”
The solar farm aims to provide 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 so there is always an adequate electricity supply during low solar generation periods.
Mulvihill added that a large consideration driving this project was the resort’s desire to position itself as a top choice 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," Mulvhill adds. “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.”
Other resort offerings with themes of sustainability include local farm tours, guided nature hikes, foraging classes, and the construction of bee hives to support the rebuilding of the local bee population.