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Canberra Hospital to get one of the nation's largest solar rooftop arrays

The ACT government will spend up to $3.3 million, and install one of the nation's largest rooftop solar arrays, to make Canberra Hospital more energy efficient.

The moves to add a 500-kilowatt solar system and install LED lights throughout all hospital buildings were aimed at slashing energy use at the site, which accounts for a quarter of the government's electricity bill.

Overlapping two of his portfolios, Deputy Chief Minister Simon Corbell said the loan to ACT Health from the Carbon Neutral ACT Government Fund – by far the largest in the fund's short history – would reap financial rewards.

"The Canberra Hospital delivers a critical 24-hour service to our community and is the ACT government's largest user of energy," he said.

"The announcement will see the hospital save a massive $490,000 a year in energy bills by 2017-18 and improve the government's overall carbon footprint."

The Sunday Canberra Times understands the hospital would become home to one of the top 10 largest roof-mounted arrays in Australia. A 500kW rooftop array at Toyota's manufacturing plant in Melbourne, using 2000 panels, was Victoria's largest when installed last year.

Mr Corbell said the hospital's energy consumption would drop by about 721,000 kilowatt hours each year. A spokesman for the Health and Environment Minister said the project roll-out would be one to two years, with the timeframe dependent on challenges in making the changes in the clinical setting.

ACT Health's electricity consumption rose by nearly five per cent across the last two financial years.

The spokesman said a feasibility study for the solar panels had been taken and a tendering process would occur to determine final designs.

Energy saving measures such as motion-sensor operation for lighting, energy-efficient window glazing and the replacement of old boiler and chiller units had been included in new ACT Health building projects.

The moves were part of the government's aim to make itself carbon neutral by 2020, with the fund launched in 2012.

In the same year it moved away from green energy purchases, cutting its green energy use from 37.5 per cent to the current 5 per cent, using the savings to fund energy efficiency measures in its buildings.

Other projects completed under the fund have included lighting upgrades in public schools and heating system upgrades in community facilities such as libraries and community centres.

ACT government operations account for five per cent of all electricity usage in the territory. 

Source: The Canberra Times

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