A hospital in the New South Wales coastal town of Port Macquarie is set to save $130,000 a year, with the installation of a 609kW rooftop solar system.
The $900,000 installation at the Port Macquarie Base Hospital, announced by local MP Leslie Williams on Friday, will cover almost all of the roof space at the hospital and at the adjacent Mid North Coast Cancer Institute.
Port Macquarie is claiming the project as the largest rooftop system on an Australian health facility – a claim we are always cautious about endorsing, at One Step, with the current commercial solar boom almost always ensuring there is a bigger example, either already built or in construction.
But it does top the 545kW system at the Friendly Society Private Hospital in Bundaberg, Queensland, which was installed last year along with LED lighting and solar hot water systems. And it’s bigger than the 500kW system installed at Canberra Hospital in 2016.
Other major health care sector solar projects have included the 2.708MW of PV being installed across 16 of St Vincent’s Health Australia’s 27 facilities, in NSW, Victoria and Queensland; and last September’s Victorian government’s announcement of a $26 million funding program to help the state’s hospitals and regional health services install rooftop solar and other energy efficient technologies.
The Port Macquarie Base Hospital system was installed by local outfit, Solgen, which has been behind a number of similarly impressive commercial solar projects, including the Canberra Hospital, and the recent 1.17MW rooftop solar addition to Adelaide Airport.
“It makes perfect sense in an area like Port Macquarie, where we have one of the highest uptakes of rooftop solar, that we can do the same on our government facilities including our health facilities,” Williams said in comments on Friday.
“Obviously hospitals have a huge expanse of rooftop available, and some 2030 panels will go up there, making a significant saving for the local health district that can be invested back into frontline services.”
Mid North Coast Local Health District project manager environmental sustainability Danny Saunders said the solar panel system would save about $130,000 a year in electricity costs on the current tariff.
On top of the solar install, Williams said another $7 million was being spent on an Energy Performance Contract, being undertaken by Veolia, to improve the energy efficiency and performance of the Mid North Coast Local Health District’s major sites.
That project will involve a range of energy saving measures, including the roll-out of more solar, the replacement of thousands of lights with LEDs, the implementation of rainwater harvesting, upgraded heating and cooling systems and window tinting.
“Overall the impact of both of these projects will be quite enormous,” Saunders said. “The hope is it flows onto more and more projects.