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July 4, 2022

Solar energy at Byron Central Hospital

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The Byron Central Hospital with have a 720-kilowatt system and will be the largest rooftop-mounted PV installation on the north coast. Photo supplied.

The roof of Byron Central Hospital will soon be covered in photovoltaic (PV) panels, harnessing energy from the sun to provide more than half of the hospital’s annual electricity usage.

The 720 kilowatt system will be the largest rooftop-mounted PV installation on the north coast, and the first of its kind for a hospital in the region.

Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) Director, Corporate Services, Matt Long, said the project will deliver significant reductions in greenhouses gases, as well as cost savings over the life of the system. ‘The feasibility study indicated changing to renewable energy at Byron Central Hospital will offset the equivalent of 940 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.

‘We know renewable energy is better for the planet, but it’s also a financially sustainable option, with the estimated electricity cost savings to our health district across the life of the system being more than $3 million.’

NNSWLHD will also be working to expand the solar program to other sites across the District.

‘As a health service, we are committed to reducing our overall environmental footprint, and we’re excited to be embarking on this initial project in Byron Bay,’ said Mr Long.

The installation is expected to be completed during the final quarter of 2022, and operational in time to take advantage of the increased daylight hours throughout summer.

The Byron Central Hospital PV system is part of NNSWLHD’s work under the NSW Government’s Net Zero Plan, which aims to deliver a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.


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16 COMMENTS

  1. Solar panels are going to halve the hospitals electricity usage? Are all the lights and machines going to turn off when ever there is a cloud?
    I think they mean they are going to get half of their electricity from a more polluting source. Making PV cells creates toxic waste, and they become toxic waste after their short lifespan. CO2 is plant food.
    Doctor’s mistakes are the third leading cause of preventable death in the western world. Maybe just work on that first.

    • Firms are working to recycle 100% of solar panels. Their lifespan is not short – 25 – 40+ years. There are now 40 year warranties available and soon they will be 50 year warranties. C02 certainly is plant food, but also creates the Greenhouse effect. We’ve known that for well over 100 years.

    • Your figures are years out of date, sorry. There are solar panels that are 42+ years old in California that are still producing 90%+ of their original power. Most panel manufacturers provide a 25 year warranty (Maxeon – a 1st tier manufacturer, has 400 Watt panels now for rooftop solar with a 25 year performance guarantee and have just introduced a 40 year guarantee. A 25 year warranty is a guarantee that even after 25 years, you will still be able to produce 80% of the power that they originally produced. The payback time for the hospital will probably be 5 – 7 years at most, and then they may have 20 – 35+ years effectively free electricity. The sun being free, until it explodes, in 4,000,000,000 years. That’s a bit longer than the few hundred years of fossil fuels left.

  2. Yes fantastic . I switched over to a local green energy provider 3 years ago and my bill instantly halved . I don’t even have solar panels. They cater for everyone doesn’t matter how poor you are . They told me ways to use less power. I did as much as I could afford and now my bill is heaps less. The biggest little power company in oz. …. Enova , . Fan bloody tastic. Made me realise how greedy and wasteful the big established energy providers really are. The lib/nats privatised them years ago. Trickle down economics ? Never Hapoened . They’re to greedy , and owned by overseas owners . With American values ; squeeze the suckers for as much as we can get . That pretty much sums up why the planet is overheating .. The deniers are the suppliers.. Like they used to say about bjelkey joe,, he thinks his sh#t don’t stink but his farts give him away. Still happening , still going on. Double speak , blame the victim. While pocketing the cash .

  3. Oh btw, tell them I recommended you to them and they give us both a $25 discount . Protest with your wallet . That scares the big polluters and forces them to change like nothing else.

    • Wow Phil, look at all the government grants that are being used to allow your power bill to be so low. Enova just keeps getting that tax payer money.
      Not to mention the Chinese government paying the panel producers to drive the panel cost artificially low to make you energy dependent on the Chinese Communist Party, cause those panel loose their efficiency within the first few years and you need to buy more to make up the drop in output.
      Getting other people to pay half your power bill really seems to be working for you Phil.

      • Christian, some fact checks for you:
        – China isn’t the only country that manufactures solar panels. So your China phobia has a solution.
        – Solar panels don’t just suddenly drop off in efficiency as you seem to imply. Solar panels have a long productive
        lifespan, decades. Yes, solar panels do lose efficiency over time but this is a gradual small loss during the solar
        panel’s lifespan. Solar panel efficiency information is readily available from solar panel manufacturers.
        – Rooftop solar is producing cleaner electricity and reducing GHG emissions, that ALL of Australia enjoy.
        – Rooftop solar is helping put downward pressure on electricity prices for ALL of us and it directly lowering electricity
        bills for households that have installed rooftop solar.

        If you want to complain about ‘grants’ then please do tell us more. While you there also tell us about the $’s11Billions subisdies given by Morrison / Joyce to the Fossil Fuel Industry.

        • So true. Joachim. Tindo Solar makes panels in Adelaide and can’t make them fast enough. it’s possible that within 5 -7 years thin panels for rooftops will be so efficient and cheap that people will be able to put far more Kw’s on their roofs than now, for the same price or less. Probably the leading solar power expert in the world, Professor Martin Green of the University of NSW (it’s his technology is in 50% of solar panels worldwide), believes that solar is going to get ridiculously cheap soon, and people could have 10’s of terrawatts on their roofs, feeding power back into the grid. Even if “soon” is 5 – 7 years, that’s going to be a game changer again. People putting down solar power are generally using facts and figures that are 2 – 3+ years out of date.

      • The amount of fossil fuel subsidies in Australia yearly, is over $10 billion. Renewable energy subsidies are nothing like that.

      • Your figures are years out of date, sorry. There are solar panels that are 42+ years old in California that are still producing 90%+ of their original power. Most panel manufacturers provide a 25 year warranty (Maxeon – a 1st tier manufacturer, has 400 Watt panels now for rooftop solar with a 25 year performance guarantee and have just introduced a 40 year guarantee. A 25 year warranty is a guarantee that even after 25 years, you will still be able to produce 80% of the power that they originally produced. The payback time for the hospital will probably be 5 – 7 years at most, and then they may have 20 – 35+ years effectively free electricity. The sun being free, until it explodes, in 4,000,000,000 years. That’s a bit longer than the few hundred years of fossil fuels left.

  4. It might help if people who are so critical of solar power actually do some rigorous research and base their opinions on facts. The fact is that solar panels are recyclable. In Europe, solar panel manufacturers are required to handle the recycling of their panels once they’ve reached the end of their usable lifespan. In Australia, the first recycling plant was opened in Thomastown, Melbourne in 2021. It’s run by Melbourne based co-operative Lotus Energy, and claims to recycle 100% of end-of-life solar PV modules and all associated materials recovered – inverters, cables, optimisers, mounting structures – using no chemicals. You can also drop off solar panels in Western Sydney . Greentech has partnered with PV Industries to launch its first solar panel recycling drop off point at their flagship Sydney store. Solar panel recycling is expected to be a $20 billion industry by 2050, so it’s early days. Also, more and more scientists are working on having solar panels that have no toxic materials at all. These are facts.

  5. Hi Robert.
    Reclaim PV, is another business that is involved in solar panel recycling.
    They based in Adelaide and are opening a second recycle facility in Brisbane.

    • Will the importer of your panels exist in 25-40 years? Will the recycling company they have contracted with exist then? Or will the home owner be hit with the recycling cost. States are banning dumping of panels. Someone is going to get stuck with the bill.
      In the early days of home computers, companies rarely lasted 5 years, despite all the money they would make.

  6. Beware buyers. You are likely to find that your performance warranty is held by a Chinese company. If they exist in 10 years, they will require you to prove, at your own cost, the exact output of your panels. This will require a lab analysis you have to pay for, then you will have to pay for postage. Expect it to cost more to get a replacement that it would to buy a new one.

    You product warranty is usually held by the importer, which is also not likely to exist in 10 years. That warranty only covers mechanical failure, such as a water leak. If it has hailed (or flooded) within that 10 years, your warranty will probably not be valid.

    I’ve been living completely off grid for over two decades, in my experience building my own powers system, panels are pretty useless within 10 years. i take them off my house and put them on a shed to provide some lights and accessories.

    It’s up to you, but you shouldn’t rely on any promises.

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