Recently, Florida witnessed two very powerful solar inclusions. Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center completed in 2010 and Jacksonville Solar Project completed in 2013 can together power 12,400 Florida homes. While many in Tampa are considering installing solar panels for their homes and commercial spaces, the one sector that often goes unnoticed is health. Did you know that hospitals across the nation are quietly joining the solar revolution by embracing the sun’s energy? In Central Florida, for instance, James A. Haley VA Medical Center has started its $20 million project to go solar. This is only a reflection of the trend that you may notice in many other parts of the country. Across the US, more and more hospitals are switching to solar to cut costs and reduce their carbon footprint. Boulder Community Hospital Foothills Campus in Boulder, Colorado, Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Laguna Honda Replacement Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in San Francisco, California and The Patrick H. Dollard Discovery Health Center in Harris, New York are some of the green hospitals in the US that have taken a lead role in environment stewardship by embracing solar.
So what makes solar such a viable solution for the healthcare sector? Below are some of the major reasons:
Embracing Solar Makes a Sound Business Sense
In any given economy, hospitals are among the greatest energy consumers of all institutions. Rooftop solar panels help healthcare facilities meet their energy requirements in a cost-effective way. As compared to the rates of conventional resources, solar energy is way more affordable. Most importantly, as opposed to fossil-fuel-based electricity, whose price surges by leaps and bounds every year, the cost of generating solar energy tends to drop with each passing year. A plunge in the energy expenditure will translate into substantial annual savings for hospitals which, in turn, can be utilized for providing better services to patients. Moreover, solar PV systems can open up an additional stream of income for hospitals, too. They can make some extra earning by selling excess electricity to their local grid via Feed-in Tariffs.
Solar Provides the Ultimate Solution for Power Back- Up Woes
Hospitals need a round-the-clock undisrupted power supply to carry on with their critical operations. Be it for running the basic equipment like fan, light, refrigerators, and air conditioning systems or operating surgical and other critical medical devices, hospitals consume a lot of electricity on a day-to-day basis. But what happens in the case of a power outage? Shortage in power supply may bring the entire system to a grinding halt. Investing in an in-house solar plant can enable hospitals to deal with such emergencies. In fact, the cost of power backup can be brought down virtually to zero by running hospitals on solar. This saving, in turn, helps hospitals to improve their bottom lines. As opposed to noisy, fume-spewing diesel generators, solar electricity is clean and green and thus helps maintain a peaceful environment within the premise.
Solar Opens Up Access to Government Funds
Across the country, different types of financial incentives are available at the national, state, and local levels that hospitals can avail for installing solar panels on their premises. For example, in California, the state's Energy Commission provides financing for hospitals through low-interest loans for feasibility studies and the installation of energy-saving measures under its Energy Efficiency Financing Program. In many other states, funds are available in a variety of forms including grants, tax credits, loans, and more.
Many Tampa homes have opted for solar panels for residential use. The good news is that solar for hospitals are also catching up fast. This is an inspiring trend which will hopefully help many more people to embrace solar in their daily lives.