Another eight New South Wales hospitals are set to go solar as part of a $14.5 million boost to an existing state government program that is expected to slash the public health sector’s energy bills by $2.6 million a year and drive down emissions.
The new investment by the Liberal Berejiklian government will fund energy saving projects and solar upgrades at nine ambulance stations and eight hospitals across four Local Health Districts.
The new funding builds on the NSW Health Solar Program, which had already invested $5.5 million on the installation of solar at 37 health facilities across the state, including hospitals, ambulance stations and health facility car parks.
According to state health minister Brad Hazzard, more than two-thirds of these were rural and regional health facilities, including hospitals recently opened at Macksville and Mudgee – projects that were fast-tracked in response to COVID-19.
Among them was a 600kW rooftop array installed at the Armidale Hospital in regional New South Wales that will cut its annual grid electricity consumption by 40 per cent, as One Step Off The Grid reported here.
“By making our health facilities more energy-efficient, these projects will also help keep costs down, and free up funds that can be invested back into our health system,” Hazzard said in a statement this week.
NSW energy minister Matt Kean, who last week unveiled a nation-leading plan for the state to drive $32 billion of investment in 12GW new renewable energy generation and 2GW of new energy storage capacity, said installing solar on hospitals and ambulance sites was a “no brainer.”
“The buildings have big rooftops that are perfect for solar installations,” Kean said on Sunday. “Solar will help our hospitals to save money on their energy bills and lower their carbon footprint.”
The new round of solar installations are expected to be completed by June 2021, the government said.