Aged care company to cut grid power consumption in half with solar, LED lighting

Australian company Opal Aged Care is looking to cut its grid electricity consumption almost in half, with a business-wide rollout of rooftop solar and energy efficient lighting.
In a program coordinated by solar and energy efficiency specialist Verdia, Opal will install just over 3.4MW of solar PV and more than 28,000 LED lights at 54 properties across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

The project, which is expected to be completed in early 2019, will cut onsite grid electricity use by about 42 per cent, greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent, and pay for itself in little more than five years.
The massive job, while driven by the potential for energy and cost savings, is also about using upgraded lighting to improve the standard of living for Opal’s residents, many of whom have fading eyesight.
“About 35 per cent of total energy consumption at a typical aged care facility is used for lighting,” said Verdia CEO Paul Peters.
“We’ll reduce the amount of energy consumed via more efficient LED technology and we are also helping Opal produce more of the electricity they require on-site via solar PV.”
“All up we expect to cut electricity use by about 42 per cent across the 54 residential homes.
“That’s a very good environmental outcome, but it’s also helping to improve the operational efficiency of each facility.”

At one of the facilities, Opal’s Macquarie Place residential aged care home near Newcastle in NSW (pictured above), a 100kW solar has already been completed, and according to Verdia will cut the 120-bed property’s electricity consumption by up to 25 per cent.
Alongside the lighting changes – LED lights typically use about 50 per cent less energy than older-style lights, says Peters – measures at Opal’s Macquarie Place will cut energy costs by about $53,000 a year, including the reduced lighting maintenance costs.
On this basis, Verdia says, the initial investment for the Opal solar and LED program is expected to pay itself off in just over five years.
Verdia has been very busy with commercial solar installs of late, including its recently announced contract with Coca-Cola Amatil to install 3.5MW of solar across three of its Australian sites in three different states.

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