East Grampians Health Service (EGHS) has recently had solar panels installed at Willaura Healthcare and PV installation at its Ararat campus starts very soon.
Approximately 400kW of solar capacity in total is involved at four locations at the two campuses, which will assist EGHS in slashing its greenhouse emissions and electricity costs.
“Our electricity costs have almost doubled in the last two years,” said East Grampians Health Service chief executive Andrew Freeman last year when originally announcing the project.
The solar power rollout is a result of a feasibility study conducted by Community Power Hub Ballarat, which was CPH Ballarat’s flagship project.
The first stage of the emPOWERing EGHS project involves solar panel installations at Willaura Campus, the main Ararat Hospital building, Community Health Centre, support services, the mental health building, 70 Lowe Street and Garden View Court. A second stage will see solar car parks constructed, assuming EGHS can find grant money to proceed.
Electricity cost savings from the first stage, estimated at $1.65 million over 25 years, will be invested back into the health service.
Formed in 1995 through the merger of the Ararat and District Hospital, the Willaura and District Hospital and John Pickford House, East Grampians Health Service provides a wide range of acute, residential, home and community based services.
Victoria’s Hospital Solar Energy Revolution
Dozens of hospitals across the state have installed solar power systems over the last couple of years, thanks in part to the Victorian Government’s Regional Health Solar Program. The program is a $13.5 million initiative assisting a total of 74 healthcare and related facilities and will finish up this year.
Under the program, system installations have ranged in size from 8kW for the ambulance station at Lara, to a 759kW system for Central Gippsland Health Service in Sale, which was installed last year and is the largest hospital solar power installation in Australia.
East Grampians Health Service wasn’t a beneficiary of the Regional Health Solar Program, with Stage 1 project costs being met by EGHS and community fundraising, including a significant donation from a couple of Ararat residents.
While PV is popping up on healthcare facilities across the nation, it appears Victoria leads the states for the installation of commercial solar at hospitals. Notable projects outside of Victoria include a 545kW installation for the Friendly Society Private Hospital in Bundaberg, Queensland, which was completed in 2017 by Gem Energy.