The Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center in California started 2012 on a green note as it recently went live with solar panels. Installed on the roof on one of the medical center’s two parking structures, the solar panels make the Fontana Medical Center one of the area’s first major medical centers to receive a significant amount of its energy from the sun.
In March 2010, Kaiser Permanente agreed to install solar power systems at 11 of its California facilities. The agreement with Recurrent Energy, a solar project developer and generating company providing clean electricity to utilities and large energy users, launched one of the largest sustainable energy programs in U.S. healthcare.
“These solar panels further demonstrate our environmental stewardship commitment to the overall health of the communities we serve,” said Greg Christian, executive director, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals/Health Plan, Fontana and Ontario.
Installing solar panels on hospitals, medical offices and other buildings is the first part of a larger plan to use onsite renewable energy sources to power Kaiser Permanente’s buildings nationwide. A focus on renewable energy sources is just one aspect of the organization’s work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the use of harmful chemicals and promote sustainable food choices.
“Solar panels at the Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center will produce approximately 10 percent of the power used on the medical center campus,” said Dominic Nigro, assistant hospital administrator, Capital Programs and Development. “That is enough electricity to power more than 150 homes for one year.”
In addition, during the summer months when a surplus of energy is expected to be produced by the solar panels, some of that energy will be returned to the power grid to be used later in the year.
The solar panels, which create a canopy over the existing open roof deck of Parking Structure 1&2 on the Fontana Medical Center campus, will not only draw the sun’s rays to be utilized for energy, but will also provide much-needed shade to the vehicles parked on the roof during hot, sunny days.