Medical center saving money with solar and natural gas

February 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

With solar energy becoming more prevalent throughout the country, companies are jumping on board to make sure they are saving money along with everyone else. One of the companies that recently converted to using solar power is the Crow Canyon Medical Center in Danville, California.

One of the leading rooftop California solar installation companies recently unveiled construction of the project, which will use solar panels to lower the current operating costs of the building’s electric chiller system.

The Crow Canyon Medical Center had 75 solar panels installed on the roof of the five-story building in one day. The package that the solar solution company offered took away upfront costs and deferred payments to match or beat the expected savings on energy.

The solar company will also install a 50-ton absorption chiller that can be powered through solar energy or natural gas. The chiller will be able to provide heating and cooling around the clock as a result of these dual power sources.

“I believe this project is the largest solar field we have ever installed in one day,” said Justin Weil, president of SunWater Solar.

The solar system installed on the medical center will offset 145,000 kilowatt hours that would normally be accounted for by the systems that are currently in place to cool the building, and will also offset 1,100 therms of natural gas used for water and space heating.

“We have strived to incorporate the best energy efficiency and environmental performance technologies at Crow Canyon Medical Center,” said John Moore, a general partner of the center. “However, the existing electric chillers dominated our energy consumption and represented a challenge in the building upgrade. The Chromasun solar and gas chiller installation is expected to significantly displace our future cooling and heating needs even with our limited roof area.”

The CEO of the solar panel manufacturer commented that combining natural gas and solar power can offer cost savings and convenience. He said many building owners would be surprised at the extent of potential savings offered by systems such as the one in place at Crow Canyon. He pointed out that natural gas prices do not go up during summertime peak usage periods.

The investment in solar power by a medical facility, where the loss of power could have a catastrophic impact on patient care, also reinforces how reliable solar has become. This reliability is likely to become even more pronounced as further technological advancements are made. The federal government recently announced its continuing support of solar initiatives.

According to the U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the White House is investing $12 million to support and spur innovation within the solar power industry, following President Barack Obama’s pledge to have clean energy meet 80 percent of the United States’ power needs by 2035.

The program, which is being called the SunShot, is planned to jump-start American innovations and reduce the cost of solar energy. The Energy Department has also invested $60 million in an incubator program that is meant to help new solar concepts and small businesses.

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