Hospital switches to solar energy

Shropshire trust unveils its biggest carbon-reduction initiative to date

More than 1,700 solar panels have been fitted across the hospital estate

Solar energy is helping to power The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) in one of its largest environmentally-friendly initiatives to date.

A number of projects are being carried out to reduce the amount of energy purchased, as well as minimise the Oswestry-based trust’s overall carbon footprint.

And the first of these projects to hit completion is the solar panel installment, which has seen 1,760 panels fitted across the hospital site by ZLC Energy.

On a bright sunny day, the installation is capable of generating up to 2,300kWh of electricity, of which 99.95% is fed directly into the hospital’s own electricity system, helping to reduce day-to-day running costs while at the same time reducing the hospital’s carbon footprint.

This equates to boiling a full 1.5-litre kettle 16,439 times, or supplying 290 houses with 100% of their electricity consumption for a day.

The small remaining percentage of the electricity generated is being fed back into the grid.

The solar project has been funded via Salix, a publicly-funded scheme that provides 100% interest-free, conditional loans to public-sector organisations such as NHS trusts and local authorities to improve onsite energy efficiency.

Solar panels have been installed in a number of areas across the trust, including above the main entrance, the stores building, the hydrotherapy pool, the TORCH building, and the largest array being on Location 12 in the hospital.

While this is the largest single CO2 reduction project carried out by RJAH to date; a number of other initiatives are currently being completed which will contribute to the efficiency and lower running costs, including the installation of LED lighting to replace old and inefficient light fittings and renewing the trust’s boilers with a more-efficient system.

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