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Kentucky’s First Solar-Powered Hospital

An entire floor in the Outpatient Center is now being powered by solar energy.

By Colleen Supan, Urban Farm Managing Editor

February 10, 2012

Rockcastle Regional Hospital solar panels

Photo courtesy of Rockcastle Regional Hospital

Facilities and Materials Management Director Gary Asher and CEO Stephen A. Estes with the new solar panels.

The first hospital in Kentucky to lower its reliance on the power grid in a big way is Rockcastle Regional Hospital in Mt. Vernon. On November 30, 2011, the hospital went live with a solar array, mixing its solar power with its energy management plan.

Rockfield’s CEO Stephan A. Estes says, “We’ve built our organization on forward-thinking innovation. Now we’ve applied that mindset to energy management, and it creates a win-win for us and the community in the long term,” Estes said. “As corporate citizens, we feel an obligation to conserve energy, and doing so frees more resources for patient care and wellness initiatives.”

Estes first came up with the idea to integrate solar power in the hospital after reading an article about a solar project at the Cincinnati Zoo, which used solar panels on parking structures. After researching and determining the possibility of solar power at the hospital campus by University of Louisville student John Lambert, Green Earth Solar, of Knoxville, was offered the contract.

Green Earth Solar partner Ed Zubko says, “Rockcastle Regional Hospital is buying 30-50 years of electricity in advance instead of paying for it monthly. They are making an investment and accruing decades of free electricity.”

The hospital’s Outpatient Services Center now has 210 solar modules that produce 290 watts each. This is enough energy to power eight to 10 homes annually. The third floor of the Center will be almost entirely powered by the solar modules. On top of providing energy, the panels will also be used educationally for local students. Science classes and local students will be invited to tour the solar array.

Give us your opinion on Kentucky’s First Solar-Powered Hospital.
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Good to know!
Annie, Houston, TX
Posted: 5/19/2012 5:01:32 PM
Good to know!
Annie, Houston, TX
Posted: 5/19/2012 4:59:19 PM
Carl, Livermore, CA
Posted: 2/18/2012 10:40:41 AM
OK, let's get something straight here because this is a matter of honesty in the way we look at using solar power systems. It's not free electricity until after the cost of the system has been recovered. If you spend $10,000 installing a system, the electricity isn't free until you have generated $10,000 worth of electricity. Then it's free.

What you are actually doing as is briefly mentioned in the article, is pre-paying for the electricity you are going to use. You've got to figure in the amortization of the initial costs, otherwise it's not honestly representing the cost of the project.

I would be really interested in hearing how much it cost and how long it will take to finally have a return on the investment.
Bruce, Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2/15/2012 10:42:00 AM

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