A £1.2m solar roof installation is underway at Causeway Hospital which, once complete, will offset more than 200,000 kgs of carbon emissions by generating around 1 million kWh of electricity each year.
The project is the largest solar PV (photovoltaic) roof installation on any Health and Social Care building in Northern Ireland, and one of the largest rooftop installations on the island of Ireland.
Work on the 1.2 MWp (megawatt peak) system is due to be completed by the spring.
Chris Smyth, Head of Specialist Services with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, said:
“We are really delighted that this exciting project to produce clean, renewable energy is underway. Once complete, the reduction in carbon emissions would equate to planting around 8,800 trees for every year it is operating, which is significant.
“It will not only help us to reduce running costs, but importantly will help us reduce our carbon footprint through generating our own electricity to run the hospital. Renewable energy in health and social care is an important aspect of how we create a more sustainable and cost-efficient system for generations to come.
“This project has been made possible by funding from the Department for the Economy and demonstrates the Trust’s commitment to investing in Causeway Hospital so it can continue to serve the local population for many years to come.
“Renewable energy projects such as this help to reduce our carbon emissions and move us toward our long-term goal of delivering a ‘net zero’ health and social care service for the region.”
The Trust’s Energy Team has been delivering a range of sustainability projects, from installing energy-saving LED lighting to replacing inefficient boilers across its estate.
As well as the solar PV installation at Causeway Hospital, smaller-scale solar PV projects have been completed at Dalriada Hospital in Ballycastle and at the Route Complex in Ballymoney. Planning is also underway for a solar PV installation and replacement window scheme at the Mid Ulster Hospital, as part of the Trust’s Delivering Value Programme.
Northern HSC Trust Director of Infrastructure Paddy Graffin said:
“Our health and social care system as a whole is facing increasing financial pressures and so it is vital that we look across our organisation to ensure we are getting the very best value and identifying areas where we can make efficiencies across our estates.
“We have set up a Delivering Value Programme Board to oversee this work which covers three main areas:productivity, cost control, and sustainability. Investing in renewable energy will help us meet our cost control targets on energy, as well as having benefits for our local environment and communities.”
The Department for the Economy has provided the Northern Trust with total funding of £1.8million towards its renewable energy projects.
Ian Snowden, Permanent Secretary at the Department for the Economy, said:
“The Department for the Economy is delighted to support the Northern Health and Social Care Trust in its ongoing energy efficiency and decarbonisation journey as part of our wider efforts to help Northern Ireland achieve its ambitious Net Zero targets.
“As part of our delivery of the Energy Management Strategy for central government, the Department was pleased to be able to provide funding for the new solar PV installation at the Causeway Hospital. This fantastic project shows how government is continuing to lead on the deployment of renewable energy solutions as part of Northern Ireland’s journey to Net Zero.”