Victorian hospitals get solar treatment in 1.5MW PV rollout


A 1.5MW rollout of rooftop solar across eight Victorian health care facilities has come to a close this week, with the completion of a 500kW system at the Wonthaggi Hospital on the state’s Bass Coast.

Local installer Gippsland Solar said on Monday that the Wonthaggi Hospital system was the last of a 12-month eight-project contract, including a 752kW system at Central Gippsland Health Service in Sale.

The project, commissioned by Health Purchasing Victoria, followed the launch of a $26 million Victorian government funding program in late 2017, to help the state’s hospitals and regional health services cut costs by installing solar.

As part of the initiative, the state’s hospitals were given the opportunity to bulk-buy solar panels through Health Purchasing Victoria to maximise the benefits of a shift to solar self-generation.

Months earlier, Health Purchasing Victoria – the entity responsible for securing bulk power deals for the state’s health sector – had written to the electricity sector about power price increases, warning it was looking at ways to help health services reduce energy costs.

According to its data, the cost of electricity in 2017 had almost doubled for some services after a new 24-month contract came into place in July of that year, presenting health services with an estimated $44 million bill increase.

In comments on LinkedIn on Monday, Gippsland Solar CEO Andy McCarthy said the 1.5MW of solar installed across the health services facilities collectively produce around 1.75GWh (1,750,000kWh’s) of clean electricity a year.

“These were some of the toughest and most complex sites we have ever worked on, and our team had to tailor every project schedule to meet the operational requirements of each hospital,” McCarthy said.

“Not only were these projects rolled out seamlessly, but we have benefited greatly from the experience, investing heavily in new processes and systems that have taken our commercial installation team to a new level.

“We’ve also picked up a couple of new permanent employees from the hospitals as we rolled out the installations, further underlining the benefits of using a local provider for regional projects.

“We are very proud of our achievements, and the financial and environmental benefits that will flow to each health service for decades to come.”

McCarthy also noted that the aforementioned 752kW system installed at Sale’s Central Gippsland Health Service was the “largest installation on a hospital in Australia.”

Here at One Step we are always reluctant to make such claims, but can confirm that it is the largest to feature on our website, thus far.

Other installations of note include the 609kW rooftop solar system at the Port Macquarie Base Hospital and Mid North Coast Cancer Institute, by Solgen; a 545kW system at the Friendly Society Private Hospital in Bundaberg, Queensland; and the 500kW system installed at Canberra Hospital in 2016.

Other major health care sector solar projects have included the 2.708MW of PV installed across 16 of St Vincent’s Health Australia’s 27 facilities, in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

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