SOUTH PORTLAND — The owners of the Howard Johnson Hotel at 675 Main St. are seeking a zoning change that would allow them to install a solar array that would greatly reduce the hotel’s electricity costs.

The $900,000 project would be installed on 1.5 acres behind the hotel, on a wooded parcel wedged between the Maine Turnpike connector road and Landry Village, a rental complex owned by the South Portland Housing Authority.

The 900 Canadian solar panels, installed in five rows, would generate 354,033 kilowatts hours of electricity annually and reduce the hotel’s electricity costs by $53,000 per year, hotel General Manager Suresh Gali said during a City Council workshop Monday evening.

The hotel spent $89,974 on 747,800 kilowatt hours of electricity last year, Gali said.

The hotel’s owners want to rezone the 1.5 acres from residential to limited business uses, like the hotel’s parcel. Planning Board voted 4-0 in April to support the change.

Gali said the hotel already reduced its annual electricity use by 26,200 kilowatt hours per month by installing LED fixtures last fall.


Energy efficiency and alternative power generation figure prominently in Gali’s business plan. He also operates the Day’s Inn near the Maine Mall, where 400 solar panels were installed on the roof in March 2014.

A majority of councilors indicated they would support the rezoning request for the solar project at the Howard Johnson Hotel. They’re expected to vote at an upcoming regular council meeting.

However, many councilors said they wouldn’t support a related request to rezone a separate half-acre parcel from Residential A to Residential G, which would allow business and other uses as special exceptions.

Gali said the property owners have no immediate plans to develop the smaller parcel.

Kelley Bouchard can be reached at 791-6328 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: KelleyBouchard

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