Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center unveiled a photovoltaic solar power plant that will generate nearly 535,000 kilowatts (kW) expected annual electricity production along with more than $600,000 in energy savings over 20 years. Comprised of 1,485 panels, the solar array is now operating on the fourth floor of the visitor parking garage – a roof area not designated for vehicles.
The project was funded through a grant from the Connecticut Zero Emissions Renewable Energy Credit (ZREC) program in partnership with renewable energy provider Soltage, LLC. Through a solar power sales and service agreement, Soltage will operate the power plant and sell the electricity at reduced cost to Saint Francis for the next 20 years.
Under terms of the Power Purchase Agreement with Soltage, there was no cost to Saint Francis to purchase and install the photovoltaic panels. Project financing was provided by Soltage and investor Tenaska, a leading US independent energy company.
The project will eliminate over 275,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide, 458 lbs. of sulfur dioxide emissions, and 277 lbs. of nitrogen dioxide oxides annually – equivalent to removing 17 cars from Connecticut roads for one year or providing electricity to 45 homes for a year. The solar panel project is one of many efforts by Saint Francis to reduce energy consumption and costs at the hospital.
In 2012, a UTC PureCell fuel cell was installed on Collins Street to lower energy costs, increase operational reliability and contribute to a cleaner environment. Also in 2012, a similar fuel cell was added at Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital on Blue Hills Avenue, Hartford. Each fuel cell provides 400 kW of power, satisfying 10% of the main campus’ electricity needs and 42% at Mount Sinai.
Additionally, thermal energy from the fuel cells is harnessed to serve heating loads at both locations. By generating power on site with the fuel cells, Saint Francis is preventing the release of more than 939 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually – the equivalent of planting more than 217 acres of trees.
The reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions compared to a conventional power plant are equal to the environmental benefit of removing 137 cars from the road. The system also allows the hospital to save over 2.8 million gallons of water annually, enough water to fill nearly 4 ½ Olympic swimming pools.