Over 300,000 kW hours of electricity have been generated to date by Community Energy Warwickshire’s solar-powered hospitals project, where we worked with South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust to install solar panels on roofs at Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Hospitals.
The Trust runs a number of hospitals, as well as community health services throughout the county of Warwickshire. In May 2011 the Trust accepted a proposal from Community Energy Warwickshire to install solar panels on the roofs of selected buildings at Warwick and Stratford hospitals – a scheme which has been described by Energy Minister Greg Barker as “exactly the kind of project delivered through exactly the kind of partnership that we need to see more of”.
Community Energy Warwickshire invited a number of local firms to tender for the project, and selected Kidderminster-based company Eco2Solar to carry out this work at the end of July 2011. Between July and November 2011, we sorted out a range of technical and legal issues, including the development of a new form of lease for this type of scheme.
Work to install 10 kWp of solar panels at Stratford Hospital started at the end of November 2011, and the array was commissioned on 7 December 2011. Work on a larger 50 kWp array at Warwick Hospital started in mid-January 2012 and this was commissioned on 2 February 2012.
Funds for the scheme, which is believed to be the first time the NHS has worked with the local community to install solar power at hospitals, were raised by offering shares in Community Energy Warwickshire. When the share offer closed at the beginning of March 2012, over £100,000 had been raised for investment in this scheme.
Community Energy Warwickshire is now working with South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust on a programme of activities aimed at encouraging staff and visitors to help the hospitals to save energy and cut fuel bills. Working with local energy efficiency advice service Act on Energy we have run a number of Energy Savers workshops for staff.
At the end of March 2014, Community Energy Warwickshire launched a new community share offer to fund more solar panel arrays at the Leamington Spa Hospital in Whitnash, which is also run by the Trust. A new 50 kWp array was installed at Leamington Hospital in June 2014, and a 10 kWp array was installed on a new office building on the Warwick Hospital site in September 2014.
And in October 2015, Community Energy Warwickshire was asked if it could install more solar panels on a new ward building at Warwick Hospital to help the Trust to meet planning obligations. Raising over £55,000 in just ten days, a 50 kWp array was organised and installed shortly before Christmas 2015, bringing the total capacity of solar PV arrays installed on Trust buildings to 170 kWp.
Click here for more information about the performance of the solar panel arrays at Stratford and Warwick Hospitals.