New solar panels give Echuca hospital off-grid option

ECHUCA Regional Health is taking advantage of the region’s sunny days by installing a 500 kW solar PV system that makes the hospital’s power supply more resilient.

The system consists of 1282 solar modules, 641 optimizers and five inverters that can produce up to 2 MWhr of electricity per day.

Mark Hooper, ERH’s Executive Project Manager, said the new panels complement the diesel generator replacement project that was completed in 2020.

“The new solar panels enable ERH to work independently of the grid at any time without a power failure,” said Hooper.

“The system is ERH’s third solar energy project and complements the two solar thermal systems for hot water preparation, heating and cooling.

“The first system celebrated its 10th anniversary in April and has been supplying high-quality hot water to the absorption chillers for more than a decade, which saves energy costs.”

Mr Hooper said ERH had ensured that its sustainability references were “at the top level in healthcare”.

“In addition to solar PV and solar thermal projects, the hospital also has two large recycling water systems that significantly reduce water consumption,” he said.

“The hospital also has a 100 percent fresh air system with over 700 kW of heat recovery, which was completed in 2014 and is now the design of choice for new hospitals with the advent of COVID-19.

“This design will also be used in the upcoming cancer and wellness center.”

Another important project at ERH is the AI-MPC project, which is carried out in collaboration with CSIRO and Conserve it.

This project uses state-of-the-art artificial intelligence software to predict the hospital’s air conditioning load in advance and selects the most efficient chiller to operate to meet demand.

“These ongoing sustainability projects and the dedication of the engineering team ensure that ERH continues to be a leader in sustainability in regional health services,” said Nick Bush, CEO of ERH.

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