Key messages

  • Victorian public hospitals have over 42 megawatts of alternative energy sources, of which around 2.6 megawatts is solar power.

Renewable energy is generated using renewable resources that ongoing natural processes can rapidly replace. These include the sun, wind, water flows, organic matter and geothermal heat.

Victorian public hospitals also use cogeneration, trigeneration, biomass and solar thermal to reduce carbon emissions and manage utility costs.

Solar power

As of July 2018 there are 45 health related facilities with behind the metre solar power installed to reduce electricity costs and carbon emissions. The aggregated amount of installed solar is around 2.6 megawatts. A further 40 solar arrays, with an aggregate of 4.9 megawatts, have either been funded or procured but not yet installed.

The percentage of grid electricity consumption offset by solar varies depending on the size and orientation of the array, the location of the hospital and the energy profile. The level of grid electricity offset can range from around 5 per cent up to 30 per cent, with an average of around 20 per cent.

See the attached list for details of solar power on Victorian public health related facilities.

Other alternative energy sources

The Alfred, Dandenong Hospital, University Hospital Geelong and St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne each have a 6 megawatt cogeneration plant and the Royal Melbourne Hospital has 2 x 6 megawatt cogeneration plant to provide security of supply. These hospitals receive on average 53 per cent of their total electricity use from cogeneration.

The Royal Children's Hospital has 2.2 megawatts of tri-generation, Northern Hospital 1 megawatt of cogeneration, Beaufort Hospital a 110 kilowatt biomass boiler and Echuca Regional Health a 220 kilowatt solar thermal plant. These systems are used to reduce costs and carbon emissions for the respective health services.

Echuca Regional Health's solar thermal cooling uses solar energy for air-conditioning. Solar cooling converts heat collected from the sun into cooling for hospital air-conditioning. To understand how this works see the What is solar cooling? factsheet.

See the attached list for details of alternative energy sources at Victorian public health related facilities.

Building-integrated photovoltaic

Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) refers to photovoltaic materials that are incorporated into construction of buildings to generate renewable electricity. They replace conventional building materials such as glass in parts of the building envelope like the roof, skylight or windows. BIPV is an emerging technology and at present is not widely used in Australia.

Green Power

Green Power is a government accreditation program for renewable energy generated from sources such as hydro, wind power, large-scale solar and biomass, which produce no net greenhouse gasses.