Top hospital in green energy switch

A North Wales renewable energy company has helped a ground-breaking North West hospital go ‘green’ thanks to the installation of a major solar power system.

Carbon Zero UK has just completed a major project to fit 112 solar panels on the roof of a building at Calderstones Hospital, at Whalley, near Clitheroe, in Lancashire.

Gareth Jones, Managing Director of St Asaph-based Carbon Zero UK, said: “The hospital is a leader in the field of health provision for people with learning disabilities and now it’s pioneering a way in the field of renewable energy.

“We’re delighted to have been involved in such an important project for such a prestigious client.”

The panels, each of them 1.6 metres by 0.9 metres, will generate electricity to help power the hospital’s ground-source heating pumps as part of a comprehensive plan by the Calderstones Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to reduce CO2 emissions.

The hospital provides care for people with learning disabilities from across the North West of England.

The Trust’s Head of Estates, Bill Wilkinson, said: “We have done energy conservation work at the hospital already and a new building is being constructed which will be heated by ground-source pumps and we felt that we should try and ensure the pumps were powered by a green technology
rather than off the national grid.

“We chose solar power because it seemed the best option and it really is ideal for buildings which are south-facing and have a large roof area and what really made the difference for us was the Government’s new feed-in tariffs which meant we would recoup the expense within seven years.

“”We invited Carbon Zero to tender and chose them because  they had experience of installing similar systems on large buildings such as Glyndwr University in Wrexham.

“The other advantages of solar power are that it is not intrusive in the way that wind turbines can be and it is very low maintenance – basically it sits on your roof and gets on with the job.”

Gareth Jones added: “This is cutting edge technology that will reduce the building’s carbon footprint by nearly 12 tons a year and generate about 22,000 kW/h of electricity.

“It underlines how important the new ‘green’ technologies are for the future of the construction industry and how buildings such as hospitals can be ideal sites to take advantage of solar power.”

The new solar power systemcould provide enough energy to save the hospital up to £2000 a year and provide annual benefits in the region of £9,500 per year.

“There really has never been a better time to go green and solar power is just one of the many new
technologies available today, many of which have been incorporated into the hospital.

“We specialise in a whole range of technologies for domestic and commercial properties including air and ground-source heating, biomass boilers, wind turbines and rainwater harvesting.

“Solar power is a fantastic option for buildings with large roof areas and is also a realistic opportunity for homes as well.

“We’re delighted to have been involved in such a prestigious project and it shows that these technologies and the expertise to install them exist in North Wales.”

Bill Wilkinson added: “This is part of our plan to reduce our carbon emissions by ten per cent by 2015. The energy provided by the solar power will be multiplied three or four times by the ground-source heat pumps.

“We’ve been very pleased with the way the project has gone and would definitely look at further solar power with the only constraint being the 50 kilowatt limit above which the payments reduce.

“But we do have other suitable roofs on our buildings which could be used and we believe it is a good idea for hospitals which tend to have large roof areas.

“It also complements the other measures we’ve taken such as thermal insulation, gas boilers, low energy lighting and building management control systems and we see it as a very low impact solution and, with a guaranteed 25 years of service, one which has a long life.”

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