This autumn, the privately owned Koto Hotel Pihtipudas invested in a solar power plant comprising 50 solar panels. The plant will cover an estimated 11 percent of the hotel's annual electricity consumption. At the moment, all the electricity consumed by the hotel is renewable.

– Our own solar power plant improves our energy self-sufficiency, and in the long term, will bring us significant savings. Moving to renewable energy will make our carbon footprint much smaller, which is an important sustainability goal for us, say hotel's owners Sirpa Laitinen and Anneli Williams.

Already more than a year ago, Koto Hotel concluded an agreement with VENI Energia Oy, which has made it possible for the hotel to use only renewable electricity that mainly originates from the Nordic countries. The agreement includes hydro-, wind-, solar, bio- and geothermal energy. In addition, the hotel now has its own solar power plant on its roof, and several new air heat pumps are being installed in the building.  Koto Hotel received support for financing the solar power plant and the heat pumps from the Rural Development Fund's recovery funds.

Laitinen and Williams acquired the 13-room hotel built in 1990 in spring 2019 and had an extensive renovation carried out in the property. At the time the renovation was completed, the coronavirus pandemic broke out, which hit the turnover and profitability of companies in tourist industry particularly hard. Koto Hotel's operators went through quite a difficult time in the early stages of their entrepreneurship.

– Because we were new entrepreneurs, we did not receive any significant Covid support from the state in support of our business operations. We decided to survive nevertheless and succeeded by making tough adjustment measures. We laid off our staff fully or partially, we increased our own work input, we reduced our opening hours and adjusted our operations, say Laitinen and Williams.

Now, the future of the hotel looks bright. At the moment, the hotel provides employment for one full-time employee and two part-time employees, as well as one extra, in addition to the two owner-entrepreneurs.

– We have several ideas for developing our operations, and the solar power plant creates preconditions for developing the hotel's new services. For example, our guests will be able to charge their electric and hybrid cars in the hotel's charging station that works on solar power already in late 2022.