Heralded as the largest solar panel installation project on any hospital in Australia, Central Gippsland Health (CGH) in Sale is now being powered by more than 2,200 solar panels.

The extensive solar array has won the praise of Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, who has featured the project heavily on his social media accounts. Welcoming Australians to the future, the Premier hoped this impressive solar farm would set a precedent for hospitals nationally where they could comfortably rely on solar power to operate effectively.

For CGH, the solar panels will reduce annual carbon emissions by 3500 tonnes, 961 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and after three and a half years, is expected to save the Sale Hospital around $250,000 a year in electricity bills.

In 2017, Gippsland Solar was contracted by CGH to install a 260kW system on the roof of the Sale Hospital and a 70kW system on the Wilson Lodge Aged Care Facility next door.

This Gippsland Solar team finished the installation in December 2018 that includes eight inverters with full remote monitoring and email alerts in the unlikely event of a system failure.

CGH Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Frank Evans, said it was estimated solar would account for 33 per cent of power usage at the adjoining Wilson Lodge and 11 per cent of Sale Hospital’s usage.

“To put it in context, the Sale Hospital system is 1.5 times the size of the Bendigo Hospital system, which is pretty impressive when you compare the population of these two regional cities,” Mr Evans explained.

“This 750kW (2,250 panel) system at Central Gippsland Health Service in Sale was a tremendous challenge for our team. With wireless connection between buildings, complex structural requirements, and the sensitive nature of working in a hospital, there were hurdles at every turn.It was a mammoth project and both Gippsland Solar and CGH need to be commended for managing to deliver this project in challenging circumstances like aadhering to quiet times during theatre operations, managing the power shutdown within CGH guidelines and commissioning after hours.”

Mr Evans said the transition to solar energy had been smooth with no noticeable differences in the way both Sale Hospital and Wilson Lodge were being operated.

“It’s a credit to modern technology and the intricate systems in place that allow a major healthcare facility to transition from electricity to solar power without any interruptions to operations,” he said.

Photo: Aerial views of Central Gippsland Health Service showing placement of the solar panels.

For more information contact Tracy VanderZalm at Wordwise Communications on 0447 491 345.

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