AUBURN, Calif., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital announced that it has "flipped the switch" to solar today, becoming the first acute-care facility in the state of California to have a large portion of its energy demands met by two solar array systems hosted by the hospital.
Comprised of nearly 3,000 solar panels and a combined capacity of 700 kilowatts (kW), the two systems are expected to generate more than 1 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, without noise, pollution or radiation. In addition, a portion of the solar panels have been installed on top of elevated structures which will provide a protected covering for 150 employee parking spaces, providing shade and reducing air conditioning use.
"Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital has been looking for ways to continue our mission of superior health services to the community while at the same time contributing to a healthier environment," said Sutter Auburn Faith CEO Mitch Hanna. "We are proud to be a model hospital by being the first acute-care facility to provide about a third of our electricity by using electricity generated from solar panels."
The environmental attributes associated with the solar deployment are expected to offset more than 11,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide over 25 years. That is equivalent to removing more than 2,500 cars off the road for one year. Combined, the two solar arrays will produce more than 24 million (kWh) of energy over 25 years, enough energy to power more than 2,200 average U.S. homes for one year.
The solar system was installed by SPG Solar, an established leader in the design and installation of high-performance, economical solar energy systems in California as well as the nation. The solar power system was financed by SunEdison, North America's largest solar energy services provider, and its finance partners, which will own and operate the system. In turn, Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital will purchase the power from SunEdison at predictable energy rates for 25 years. All solar panels were made in North America to comply with the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
"SunEdison continues to lead the charge for affordable solar solutions for government, commercial and utility clients across the globe," said Brian Jacolick, General Manager Americas for SunEdison. "Our proven experience, strong financing capabilities and solid partner relationships make SunEdison the right choice for hospitals like Sutter, who enjoy the benefits of solar electricity while avoiding upfront costs."
Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital is expected to save an estimated $2.5 million over the life expectancy of the project.
"Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital's primary goal is to provide excellent, affordable healthcare to our community," Hanna said. "The money saved by utilizing this energy source will help us continue to reach that objective. Plus, because our hospital is still connected to the traditional electrical grid and has backup generators, there is no worry in case the solar system has any difficulties. It will not affect patient care in the slightest, and patients will not notice a difference."
A survey of hospitals in California showed there are only a few acute-care facilities that are using solar power, and they are generating enough electricity to supplement 3 to 10 percent of their electrical needs. While many other hospitals are using solar power on outpatient service buildings, there is not an abundance of acute-care facilities using solar power. The Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital solar project is being touted by the installer, SPG Solar, as a model for other established hospitals.
"There are many hospitals throughout the nation that could benefit greatly from a solar paneling system such as this," said Thomas Rooney, CEO of SPG Solar. "Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital is leading the way and proving how renewable energy sources can be incorporated into major health-care facilities."
Because hospitals are 24/7 operations and much of the state-of-the-art life-saving equipment runs on electrical power, acute-care facilities are some of the largest users of electricity in their communities. Hospitals have been cutting down on their power usage through various energy-saving programs, including the use of sensors that turn off lights when a room isn't occupied, replacing lights with ones that use less electricity. But those efforts can only go so far toward cutting the use of electricity from a community's power grid.
Sutter Health, a not-for-profit network of hospitals in Northern California, has initiated sustainable building standards in the planning, design and construction of new hospitals and within existing hospitals. Pat Fry, president and CEO of Sutter Health, applauded the efforts of Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, SPG Solar and SunEdison in making the solar project work.
About Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital
Sutter Auburn faith Hospital is an affiliate of Sutter Health, one of the nation's leading not-for-profit networks of community-based health care providers, delivering high-quality care in more than 100 Northern California communities. For more information on Sutter Auburn Faith, visit the website at sutterauburnfaith.org.
About SPG Solar, Inc.
SPG Solar, Inc. is one of the industry's leading developers, designers, and installers of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for large-scale commercial and government facilities as well as for businesses, schools and homes. Founded in 2001 in response to the nation's soaring energy prices, SPG Solar is committed to building the highest-performing solar PV systems with the greatest return on investment. With regional facilities throughout the Western States, SPG Solar has built over 1,200 solar PV systems. For more information, please visit www.spgsolar.com.
SunEdison is North America's largest solar energy services provider. The company finances, installs and operates distributed power plants using proven photovoltaic technologies, delivering fully managed, predictably priced solar energy services for its commercial, government and utility customers. For more information about SunEdison, please visit www.sunedison.com.
SOURCE Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital