SANDWICH, MA - Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod (SCC) is constructing a 1,100 kW solar installation that will support the hospital’s commitment to sustainable energy and result in both energy and cost savings.
“This project is a significant step in our ongoing efforts to adopt sustainable practices, to be responsible citizens, and to help protect the fragile environment of Cape Cod where we’re fortunate to live and work,” says Stephanie Nadolny, Vice President of Operations for Spaulding Cape Cod. The project is being fast-tracked to be completed before the end of the year.
A collaboration among Spaulding Cape Cod, Partners HealthCare, and Current, powered by GE, the solar project reflects Partners’ system-wide and local commitments to reduce negative environmental impacts from operations. Spaulding Cape Cod, a member of the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, is part of Partners HealthCare, which has set a goal to meet or exceed the state’s mandate of offsetting emissions of harmful greenhouse gasses due to operations 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.
“The solar photovoltaic system will export power directly into the grid, producing the equivalent of 70% of the hospital’s electricity consumption while reducing a large portion of its electric bill,” explains Dennis Villanueva, Senior Energy and Sustainability Manager for Partners Real Estate and Facilities. “There are significant environmental and health benefits for the community associated with the system’s production. Over a 20-year period it will avoid nearly 40 million pounds of green house gas (GHG) emissions, equivalent to taking 185 cars permanently off the road.”
The solar installation is located at the hospital on Service Road in Sandwich and consists of two parts: a 471 kW ground-mounted solar array, and a 629 kW array on carports.
“This project is a perfect example of how businesses can leverage clean energy solutions to not only slash monthly energy costs, but also to preserve the regions where they operate,” says Erik Schiemann, General Manager of Solar at Current, powered by GE. “This has been a great collaboration to find the best solutions to positively impact a critical healthcare institution and the surrounding community.”
Spaulding Cape Cod, the largest private employer in the Town of Sandwich, is nestled on 45 acres of land. Previously, SCC donated 33 acres of woodlands to the town for conservation. The ground-mounted solar array will be constructed over the hospital’s leeching field and cover approximately seven acres. “This is land that couldn’t be used for any other purpose, so we’re excited to see it contribute to our sustainability efforts,” says Nadolny.
Solar panels will also be installed on car ports that are being erected over existing and new parking spaces, covering about two-thirds of them. During October, SCC added 62 parking spaces to its current complement of 242 as part of a $6.3 million expansion and renovation project that began in January. The expansion adds 6000 sq. feet of clinical and administrative space to the hospital, plus the new parking spaces. It also includes installation of high efficiency equipment, which will reduce energy waste in HVAC systems.
Installation of solar power is the latest in a series of initiatives SCC has undertaken to reduce its carbon footprint. SCC has twice received awards from Practice Greenhealth, most recently in 2016, when it achieved Emerald Award status for efforts to recycle, institute sustainable practices, and reduce use of mercury.
“As a health care provider, improving the health of the community is central to our mission,” states Nadolny. “By lowering emissions related to operations, we’re able to have a positive impact on the community as a whole, and that’s a good feeling.”
Installing solar power at Spaulding Cape Cod is just one of Partners’ projects. “By the end of the year, we expect to have installed close to 5,000 kW throughout the system, with two other projects similar in size to the one at the Cape,” says Villanueva. “Thus far we’ve achieved about 45% fewer emissions than the regional conventional fuel mix through strategic energy procurement for our facilities, which puts us on track to reach our GHG reduction goal. Reaching that goal will be accomplished through energy conservation, on-site power generation – including renewable sources, such as the solar array on the Cape – and strategic purchasing of renewable energy for its facilities across Massachusetts.”