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Solar Power – The ideal energy source for hospitals

Southmeade 2

Hospitals need a constant energy supply to function.  Running as a 24/7 working businesses means that everything must work seamlessly, regardless of the time of day, in order to give a high level of medical care to patients. Therefore, hospitals must be equipped with a more than adequate power supply at all times; if there’s a power cut, they need back up and solar power could be the answer.

Even the most basic of tasks, like checking on a patient’s digital records, require electricity so thinking about the many hundreds of computers and machines each hospital runs each day, to ensure its patients are well and adequately cared for, means that electricity use is undoubtedly high.

In fact, in 2014 the Green Investment Bank reported that the NHS spends more than £750 million on energy costs each year, which works out at over £325,000 per hospital (there are around 2,300 NHS hospitals in the UK). That’s not even considering the private hospitals within the UK.

Furthermore, as many hospitals are run by the public sector and funded by the taxpaying public, they act as a benchmark for example as to how businesses should be run.  This means that they must consider Governmental policies and take their responsibility seriously when it comes to expenses, wastage and efficiency.

All these factors can be combated effectively with a well designed solar PV and battery storage system, as the following list will highlight:

Large surface area

Although their vast size deems them huge electricity beasts, a hospital’s size is also an asset. Hospitals benefit from large and mostly unused roof space, this is the perfect location for solar PV panels and, with higher efficiency models becoming more and more available, this space can be optimised to the maximum. This means that more energy can be generated and supplied to the hospital and a cheaper and much greener rate than grid supply.

24/7 requirement

Round the clock care means round the clock electricity. In most places the lights will always need to be on, monitors constantly scanning heartbeats and vital machines always saving lives, so it’s easy to see how all that money is spent. However, with a solar PV and battery storage systems, this annual expenditure could be slashed.

By harnessing the sun’s energy at its strongest (between 10am-4pm) using it as it is generated and storing the surplus, hospitals have a constant energy supply at all times. This flips convention on its head where grid power will be needed only to support solar energy, should it ever be needed.

Blackout protection

We all know how inconvenient power cuts can be. Imagine how incapacitating they can be for hospitals? The machines that keep people alive demand electricity, and this is where solar PV and battery storage can also help.

By storing surplus energy for use in emergencies, hospitals will benefit from a constant backup supply to ensure the business runs as usual while the rest of the town is in total darkness, something that will surely give patients and employees confidence.

Environmental responsibility

As highlighted previously, hospitals (like any business) have the responsibility to meet environmental targets and standards. Energy efficiency schemes like the Carbon Reduction Commitment report on the carbon emissions of large public and private sector organisations in the UK that use over 6,000MWh of electricity annually. This means that many businesses are required to increase energy efficiency and Solar PV is a great way of doing so.

Additionally, 2013 Building Regulations require hospitals to meet an additional 14 % carbon saving when compared to the baseline building standards. Add to this the NHS requirements that all new hospital facilities must meet the ‘Excellent’ BREEAM New Construction standard and solar PV is a sensible solution.

As the prices of solar PV decrease and demand for greener and more energy efficient buildings increase, Solar PV is emerging as a strong contender in helping to reduce carbon emissions and bills. By using solar PV in hospitals, it not only upholds their responsibility, but boosts reputation while benefiting from a low cost supply of reliable energy.

For more information about the products Waxman Energy has available, to build large scale solar systems, please head to our products page.


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