PRETORIA – Life Healthcare Group has completed its latest environmental sustainability project with the installation of solar photovoltaic panels at the Life Eugene Marais Hospital in Pretoria. This is the third hospital in the Group to have the solar panels installed in line with the Group’s medium- to long-term environmental sustainability initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and pressure on the national energy grid.
The solar project consists of high-efficiency monocrystalline PV modules installed on the hospital’s roof with a size of 333.6 kWp DC and annually will offset approximately 581 MWh of energy, 575 tonnes of CO2 and save 800 thousand litres of clean water. The solar project was designed and built for own use by the hospital and all energy produced by the solar project will be consumed by the hospital.
“Sustainability is an integral part of how we do business. Life Healthcare’s sustainability programme was established in 2013 in response to increasing energy costs, as well as the business commitment to responsible corporate citizenship,” says Bhekisisa Ngobese, Group Engineering Manager at Life Healthcare Group. “The installation of solar panels at the Life Eugene Marais Hospital is a further effort to optimise energy efficiency at our facilities. Life Healthcare Group is committed to ensuring that we play our part in terms of achieving the universal sustainable development goals to ensure increased energy efficiency as well as encourage responsible consumption and production of energy.”
The solar project was developed by Fibon Energy, a renewable energy company based in Johannesburg. The appointment of Fibon Energy, a level 1 B-BBEE Contributor which is wholly black-owned and controlled, forms part of Life Healthcare Group’s B-BBEE strategy to harness corporate growth and inclusive development opportunities in a sustainable manner.
Avesh Padayachee, the managing director of Fibon Energy, says: “It is a privilege to be part of this flagship project and to structure a renewable energy product that will provide clean, sustainable and attractive financial returns for Life Healthcare Group. We currently have other solar projects under construction for the Life Healthcare Group and look forward to continuing to deliver value.”
Ngobese adds, “Our previous pilot projects at Life Anncron Hospital in Klerksdorp and Life Fourways Hospital in Johannesburg have proven to be successful and yielded tangible results. Following the successful implementation of the two pilots, we are excited to extend the project to Life Eugene Marais Hospital. This investment into efficient energy will go a long way to reduce the emissions footprint of our hospitals as well as contribute to relieving the municipality electrical grid pressure in the communities we operate in.”
Life Healthcare has identified several key focus areas – such as increased thermal insulation and various other efficient designs that are in various stages of implementation – and continues to investigate further opportunities. “Although a 10% reduction target has been set over a five year period, it is the intention of Life Healthcare to entrench a culture of environmental awareness throughout the organisation and continually strive for further efficiencies,” concludes Ngobese.
• Nearly 334kWp solar power installations for Life Eugene Marais hospital (30% supply of the total facility)
• 12 solar panel arrays
• PV (photovoltaic) systems = 1 system across 2 DB boards
• 914 panels installed
• Capable of producing 324kW after losses
• Additional capability of producing an average of 1318kWh per day dependant on environmental conditions
• Expected production of 481MWh per annum