Solar system supports net zero goals at community hospital  

St Austell Community Hospital in Cornwall has installed a rooftop solar PV system to support the delivery of the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Health and Care Partnership’s Green Plan.  

Rooftop solar PV installation at Cornish hospital forecast to produce 81,000kWh of clean energy each year.

The Green Plan sets out targets to achieve net zero carbon emissions across the Partnership’s operations by 2030 – a decade ahead of the NHS’s national target of net zero by 2040.  

The DC-optimized PV system is forecast to produce 81000kWh of reliable, clean energy annually, providing a return on investment (ROI) in just five years. The energy produced by the system will mean more of the hospital’s power requirements can be generated by a sustainable source.  

Wider decarbonisation strategy 

It will also play a key role in the partnership’s broader decarbonisation strategy, which seeks to power heavy energy loads, such as electronic vehicle charging points, with sustainable energy. 

Alan Bean, sustainability programme manager, for Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs St Austell Community Hospital, explains: “As an NHS Trust, our first priority is patient care, and caring for the environment we all thrive within follows on naturally from that.  

“Hence we are committed to achieving net zero and we also need to ensure we are carefully managing costs. By investing in solar energy at St Austell Community Hospital, we can reduce our carbon emissions while ensuring we have an energy supply that is safeguarded against rising energy prices and volatility in the global energy market.”  

Ability to increase modules in the future

The PV system comprises 199 solar modules, which have been upgraded to smart modules using SolarEdge power optimisers to increase energy production and to increase the number of modules in the array to enhance energy yield further. Controlling the system is a SolarEdge 82.8kW Three Phase Inverter with Synergy Technology.  

Synergy inverters can be oversized by up to 200%, meaning the hospital will be able to increase the size of the installation in the future – for example, to provide additional clean energy for EV charging points and ground-source heat pumps– without having to purchase a new inverter.  

Nick Spicer, Founder and CEO of  Your Eco, the Somerset-based company that designed and installed the system, says: “We’re delighted to have completed a complex installation so quickly at a working hospital without any impact on patient care or privacy.

“With energy prices rising and instability in global energy markets resulting in the risk of interruption to supply, the new system will not only help the hospital reach its carbon-reduction goals, it is also expected to deliver ROI in just five years. The real beauty is that all this is delivered thanks to the Cornish sunshine and some smart technology.”