A project to install solar power at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital in Auckland Park, Johannesburg to help optimise the facility’s energy efficiency has been completed. The installation, which represents a R1.2 million investment by Netcare, forms part of a vast energy savings and sustainability programme that is being undertaken at the Netcare group’s hospitals and other facilities over a five year period.
Jacques du Plessis, managing director of the Netcare hospital division, says that the installation at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital represents an important milestone, as it is the first installation of a phased-in solar photovoltaic (PV) project initially being undertaken across six Netcare hospitals in Gauteng. The other five hospitals are Netcare Mulbarton, Netcare N17, Netcare Garden City, Netcare Park Lane and Netcare Milpark hospitals. Over the next 18 months all old inefficient lighting at the five hospitals will also be replaced.
“This first phase of the solar energy project in Gauteng, which represents a R30 million investment, is due for completion by April 2016, while a further two phases are already in the planning stages.”
According to Du Plessis, there is roof space available across Netcare’s extensive hospital portfolio of 56 facilities, to implement as much as 7.2 megawatts of solar PV capacity, which will assist the group to achieve significant savings and reductions in CO2 emissions.
The 75kW rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installation at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital will provide an average of 119,000 kWh of electricity a year, enabling free electricity to be provided to meet approximately 5.5% of the hospital’s total annual power needs.
“While this may not sound significant, it will represent meaningful power savings over time, particularly when it is combined with a number of the other energy saving initiatives being implemented at this and other Netcare hospitals around South Africa,” adds Du Plessis.
“The initiative forms part of a broader national project, which aims to save more than 10 million kWh of electricity, 10 thousand tonnes of CO2 emissions and, indirectly, more than 13,5 million litres of water per annum. It represents the largest project of its kind to be undertaken by a private hospital provider in South Africa.”
Du Plessis explains that a primary focus of Netcare’s sustainability programme is focused on electricity, which accounts for 88% of the group’s carbon footprint and cost the company R235 million in 2013. “Our sustainability programme aims to reduce energy consumption by 30% over a five-year period and effectively save R1 billion in costs over the next 10 years.”
Netcare’s energy engineer, Johan Durand, explains that Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital was one of the facilities selected by the group for a rooftop solar PV installation after an investigation found that the facility had sufficient unshaded roof space to make the project viable and the energy savings worthwhile.
“Gauteng gets plenty of sun and has excellent energy harvesting potential, which Netcare is looking to take full advantage of into the future,” adds Durand.
Du Plessis says that Netcare’s sustainability programme was launched in August 2013 in response to rising energy costs, as well as management’s commitment to responsible corporate citizenship.
“No company today can afford to ignore its impact on the environment and on the communities they serve,” he adds.
Netcare is collaborating with industry experts, engineering consultants and site technical teams to identify opportunities to minimise the group’s impact on the environment. Technologies considered have ranged from low-flow showerheads to a multi-million rand tri-generation plant. According to Du Plessis, the scope of Netcare’s programme is considerable with all Netcare facilities across the country being investigated for their ‘greening’ potential.
“Overall to date, Netcare has identified more than 100 potential projects with a capital value of over R400 million. The project is an expression of the Netcare group’s commitment to the future of South Africa and its people,” says Du Plessis.
According to the South Africa Climate Change Report 2014 of the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) and the National Business Initiative (NBI), in its South African emissions Netcare had the largest sector percentage decrease out of the five healthcare companies that participated in their survey. Netcare was also ranked fifteenth overall and first in the healthcare sector of all the companies that were surveyed in the 2014 JSE Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index, and improved its rating to eleventh overall while maintaining its top position in the healthcare sector in the 2015 survey.
Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact : Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney and Meggan Saville
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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