Solar panels to cut hospital power bills

SALE, Maffra and Yarram hospitals and the Stretton Park aged care facility in Maffra could collectively save more than $200,000 in power bills annually.

The local facilities are among 11 Gippsland hospitals and aged care facilities, which will have 2.3 megawatts of solar panels installed.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the Sale project was estimated to save $146,809 each year, Maffra was expected to save $23,969 and Yarram $46,353.

He said local companies were invited to tender for projects, and Gippsland Solar was successful in being selected for a number of projects.

Gippsland Solar is undertaking solar installations at Bass Coast Health, Central Gippsland Health, Orbost Regional Health and Omeo District Health.

“The suppliers are currently doing design works, and then installation will commence,” the spokesperson confirmed.

The Sale Hospital project is in addition to a 330 kilowatt project on its site last year.

According to the state government, the solar panels will reduce annual carbon emissions by 3500 tonnes, and cut hospital operating costs by nearly $1 million.

The Labor Government’s Greener Government Buildings program is providing interest-free loans for 42 regional health services across the state to install the solar panels.

In total, Victorian hospitals are sharing in $26 million for energy efficiency upgrades and clean energy projects.

Ms Hennessy said rooftop solar panels would ensure hospitals could drive down their power bills and tackle climate change by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Eastern Victoria MLC Harriet Shing also praised the move.

“This will ensure our hospitals and aged care facilities across Gippsland can do what they do best — provide the best possible care for patients and their families,” she added.