Solar panels help ambulance trust slash emissions

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust set to make £800,000 through introduction of solar panels at control centres

Solar panels have been installed at control centres run by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust is set to make at least £800,000 thanks to the introduction of solar panels.

Manufactured by Conergy and fitted by Photon Energy, the panels will help to deliver savings through a combination of feed-in-tariff revenue and lower electricity bills.

Solar means NHS organisations can cut their energy bills and benefit from new revenue streams, safeguarding money for frontline services

Five solar arrays featuring 200 Conergy P-Series modules generating 50kW each have been fitted to the roofs of NHS control centres in Braintree, Norwich, Luton, Melbourne and Welwyn Garden City, which co-ordinate more than 500,000 call-outs a year across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The centres, which operate 24 hours a day, will be able to generate 195,000kw hours of clean solar electricity a year. Besides the energy savings, the trust will receive money from the Government’s feed-in-tariff for renewably-generated electricity and by selling unused electricity to the National Grid.

All told, the projects will deliver cost savings and new revenues of £42,000 a year over 20 years, and cut the trust’s carbon emissions by 103 tonnes a year, equivalent to taking 20 cars off the road. With payback in five years, money will also be freed for investment in frontline services.

The Government says average domestic electricity prices soared 45% from 2006 to 2012 so projects like this are the perfect way to hedge against even steeper price hikes in the future

Andy Sanders, head of estates at East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: "Photon Energy's installations were completed in just five weeks, within budget and with minimum disruption to site users. The quality of the inverters Conergy panels gives me confidence that this has been an excellent investment for the trust, which will enable us to release finances to support our frontline emergency service."

Jonathan Bates, managing director at Photon Energy, added: “East of England Ambulance Service should be applauded for looking after the interests of patients and taxpayers by having the foresight to invest in order to save. The Government says average domestic electricity prices soared 45% from 2006 to 2012 so projects like this are the perfect way to hedge against even steeper price hikes in the future.”

And Robert Goss, managing director of Conergy UK, urged other trusts to follow suit. He said: “The health service has thousands of acres of rooftop which are currently going unused. Solar means NHS organisations can cut their energy bills and benefit from new revenue streams, safeguarding money for frontline services. The rest of the NHS, from Inverness to Kent, should follow leaders like the East of England Ambulance Service Trust. You don’t need sunny weather as the panels work even in cloudy conditions.”

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