The customer for product/service solar electricity is healthcare hospital as hospitals need continuous power supply for patient care and other activities.
Hospitals and medical centers are complex institutions which treat thousands of patients on a monthly basis . Patients have different requirements and needs when they visit hospitals. While some need immediate attention, some are suffering from diseases, and few come for child delivery and a few others for a routine checkup.
Health care hospitals are responsible for patient care and continuous power supply is critical to the functioning of hospitals. Any power cut may cost a patient’s life. Therefore, hospitals need efficient and reliable power backup systems.
Trends in acute general health care hospitals
Various trends for general health care hospitals include:
- Tighter Profit Margins
Hospitals usually have tighter profit margins due to high operational expenses. The higher rates of advanced technologies and diagnostic tests such as CT scans, PET and ECG tests has increased the operational expenses for hospitals over the years.
- Shortage of Trained Nurses
There is an acute shortage of trained nursing personnel in the healthcare industry, which further increases the cost of recruitment and retention of well-trained nursing staff in hospitals.
Operating Cost of Hospitals
A typical US hospital spends an average of $1.67 on electricity per square foot annually . In a typical hospital setting, lighting, heating and hot water constitute from 61% to 79% of the total energy consumption in hospitals depending on the type of climate .
Solar Electricity Technologies
There are three main types of solar electricity technologies:
- Solar Thermal Systems (utilization of solar energy to heat water).
- Concentrating Solar Power Systems (CSPS): 1) Sunlight is concentrated by using mirrors; 2) solar energy is converted to heat; and 3) thermal energy used to produce electricity using a steam turbine or heat engine driving a generator .
- Solar Photovoltaic Systems (PVs): Solar energy is collected in solar panels or modules, which are made of smaller solar cells; this solar energy is used to produce electricity .
Recommended technology for a large hospital set up: Solar Photovoltaic Systems (PVs)
Types of Solar Photovoltaic Systems (PVs)
- Thin film (These have 10 percent conversion efficiency; energy is captured with coating on glass, such as cadmium and telluride; the coating or film may be sandwiched between the two layers of untempered glass )
- Standard Efficiency (These have 14 percent conversion efficiency; energy captured with polycrystalline silicon )
- High Efficiency (These have 18 percent conversion efficiency; energy typically captured with monocrystalline silicon)
Types of Solar Photovoltaic Systems Installations
- Roof –Mounted: Used in urban, suburban areas and requires evaluation of roof
- Ground –Mounted: Used where land is available, preferably within a short distance of the end user’s operating facilities
- Solar Trees: Used to provide shade in parking lots, other areas
Solar Energy Usage Statistics for 2013
Here are some the solar energy usage statistics for the year 2013:
- In the year 2006, the US solar installers were installing a solar PV system once in every 80 minutes and it has come down to installation in every four minutes in 2013 . It is expected that by the year 2016, as a solar PV system shall be installed in the US in every 80 seconds .
- In the year 2011, the global solar energy had installed a capacity of 50 gigawatts . By the year 2012 end, the capacity had surpassed 100 gigawatts and it is expected to reach over 200 gigawatts by the end of 2015 .
- Solar industry of US is expected to hit 362, 000 installations by 2016 and may spend more than $1billion to get customer leads which, shall amount to $0.49 per watt, which is roughly 10% of the installation cost .
- The non-hardware costs for a solar system installation is nearly two third of the total system cost in 2013 .
- The Chinese firms have reduced the multicrystalline solar module costs by 54 percent since 2010 and many leading Chinese solar component manufacturers are working hard to produce solar modules for $0.36 per watt by the year 2017 .
- Only 25% of the total residential and commercial rooftops in US are suitable for solar energy use and this creates a huge opportunity for solar companies gain traction .
Hospitals are in need of reliability of energy supply as hospitals need continuous power supply 24 hours and 7 days in a week. According to an EIA Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey conducted in the US , it has been observed that although large hospitals (> 200,000 square feet) account for less than 1% of all commercial buildings and 2% of commercial floor space, they actually consume 4.3% of the total energy delivered to the commercial sector .
Heavy electricity consumption makes hospitals good prospects for solar power . The cost savings attained by hospitals are proportionally greater than in other types of commercial buildings . Also, the energy consumption in hospitals is more constant and predictable than elsewhere . Using solar power can result in substantial energy savings, especially during daytime hours when demand for power is highest and finally, the sustainability and self-sufficiency provided by effective solar power systems can positively affect the hospital’s bottom line in a substantial way .
A hospital spends on its energy consumption for various items which have been included in table 2.
Why does your hospital need a solar electricity power system?
- The electrical systems which support the activities of doctors, staff, patients, and visitors are more critical in hospitals than in almost all other major facilities .
- The interruptions of hours, minutes, and sometimes even seconds can mean the difference between life and death
Losses caused by irregular power supply
- It impairs the operation of surgical wards, delivery wards, vital hospital equipment supplies, and hospital communications which negatively affects the ability of health workers to provide safe, appropriate, and timely medical care to patients .
- The labor and delivery nurses are unable to quickly notify on-call physicians of emergencies without power supply. The midwives and physicians may be forced to make treatment decisions without taking the benefit of necessary diagnostic tests .
- The obstetric procedures and emergency surgeries may be conducted under grossly suboptimal conditions which could lead to tragic consequences .
In times of economic recession and high inflation in different parts of the world, power has become an expensive and an indispensable resource for the operations of any company. The health care sector is no different, with its huge dependence on electrical power for lights in hospitals, including operation theaters, complex health monitoring instruments and live support systems. Be its intensive care unit, diagnostic machines such as CT scan; or functioning of lifts to shift patients, electric power is needed everywhere.
In an initiative to reduce dependence on thermal power and instead utilize the power of solar energy to become a self-sufficient organization, with no power cuts, hospitals can adopt solar electricity.
The sun is 93 million miles away from earth and is 333000 times the size of the earth . The sun produces 400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 watts of energy every second and it is believed that it will last for another 5 billion years .
Figure 5. Relative size of earth compared to the sun
Solar electricity is a wonderful idea which utilizes the energy of the sun to power electrical equipment .
Advantages of Solar Electricity
Using solar electricity has its own advantages:
- No dependence on the power socket
- Renewable source of energy
- Environment friendly
Benefits of Using Solar Panels in Hospitals
- Supply of electricity, stream and hot water
- Meets hospital power requirements
- Power is produced all the time when the sun is shining
- Cost effective
- The cost saved from power can be used for development of other facilities in the hospital
- Solar photovoltaic panels can be installed in multiple locations such as rooftops, parking lots, and adjacent land .
- Certainty of production levels
- Easy operations and maintenance
- Solar PV panels are noise and pollution free which will aid in maintaining the intended peaceful and healthy hospital environment .
- Government grants and incentives are available for hospitals when they install solar PV panels .
Haiti Hospital has effectively utilized the power of solar electricity and is set to become the world’s largest solar hospital . Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais was functional in March 2013 .
The hospital’s roof sports more than 1800 photovoltaic (PV) panels, each capable of generating up to 280 watts, which means 500 kW of peak DC power . The panels feed five 95 kW grid-tied inverters, which provide over 400 kW AC.
- Solar electricity has been able to provide more than 100% of the hospital’s daily needs .
- The power surplus enabled the hospital administrators to sell daytime overage back to the power grid and to function on grid energy at night .
- Mirebalais has been able to cut about $379,000 in annual operating costs .
- Handling Objections
- Will I get solar power even on a cloudy day?
Solar panels can generate electricity even on cloudy days , However, the higher the concentration of sunlight, the higher the amount of electricity produced .
- How can the hospital optimize the solar power generation?
Solar PV panels perform the best when they receive the optimum amount of sunlight if they are installed on the roof of a building .
- Where solar PV panels should be placed in a hospital set up?
Hospitals usually need their grounds for building space and parking . Therefore, mounting hospital solar panels on the roof can be considered as the best option .
- What will be the efficiency of a solar PV panel?
On an average, solar PV panels can create electricity with an efficiency of 15% to 20% .
- What will be the pricing?
The average cost of solar electricity shall be in the range of $0.35 -$0.40 per kWh. A solar panel module shall cost around $39/m2 for an efficiency of 15% .
- For Issues & Support
The solar engineers at ABC Power Corp will create a solar panel design and assist in the solar power generation for the first 5 years to ensure expansion.
Initial order can be for a period of 2 years and can be extended in periods of 2, 5 and 10 years as per need.
The installation shall involve:
- Solar PV panel design for hospital roof
- Support from company engineers
- Power generation monitoring
- Annual Maintenance contract
Payments can be made in the form of checks or demand drafts with 50% payment to be made in advance.
Please call us for a free inspection and roof area calculation for optimum solar energy utilization plan.
With regard to the solar electricity power back up to the hospital, please let us know your requirements. Do you have any queries regarding the order, then please let me know. Our engineers can provide a demo at your hospital at a suitable time.
The follow up can be in the following forms:
- On Phone Follow Up: Traditional method of follow up.
- Follow Up via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Follow Up via Mails: Sending hard copy of mails to prospects.
Solar electricity has brought with it several advantages which include cost effectiveness, dependability, pollution free generation and environmentally friendly resource. Hospitals are in need of a reliable, efficient and cost-effective power generation system which can be effectively utilized for back-up for critical patient care. The solar electricity products can be utilized by hospitals to manage their power supply effectively and excess power supply can be sold to the power stations for additional profits.
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