Building on its global carbon reduction efforts, health and care organisation Bupa has been quietly working away at its most significant green initiative in Australia – the nation’s largest distributed solar power project.
Mathew Heggie, Chief Engineer from Bupa Aged Care, undertook an assessment of solar providers in Australia and chose leading commercial installer Energy Matters, (now SunEdison) for the ambitious project.
Following successful deployment of the first systems totaling 200kW capacity, SunEdison was chosen as Bupa Aged Care’s preferred solar partner.
The solar power systems have been installed at 41 Bupa Aged Care locations across the country. All arrays are now fully operational and the 3.7 MW+ project is expected to generate a combined 5,205 megawatt hours of clean electricity during the first full year of operation.
Bupa Aged Care can comfortably claim to be Australia’s largest privately owned solar power producer; with more than 4.5MW of solar panels installed across its facilities resulting in annual carbon savings of more than 6,000 tonnes – equivalent to more than 1000 cars off the road each year.
The value of the electricity generated by this program is massive, amounting to millions of dollars in the first 10 years.
This isn’t the end of Bupa’s solar efforts in Australia. Phase 2 of the project will see SunEdison adding a further 500 kilowatts of capacity; bringing the total installed by SunEdison to more than 4.2 megawatts.
Further details about the Bupa Aged Care’s Australian solar project can be viewed here .
Globally, Bupa’s £50m (AUD ~ $96m) Energy Saver Fund will have resulted in nearly 1,000 low carbon projects implemented by July this year. According to The Guardian, Bupa will save about £4m (AUD ~ $7.68m) a year on bills and reduce the carbon footprint of two-thirds of its buildings.
As a health and care organisation, Bupa recognises you need a healthy planet to have healthy people. Bupa’s 20% carbon reduction target by 2015 has been one strategy the company has implemented in an effort to reduce its impact.
The Bupa project adds to SunEdison’s portfolio of commercial solar power installations in Australia. Last year, while still operating under the Energy Matters banner, the company installed more capacity in the 10-100kW range than any other installer in the nation.
Aside from demonstrating environmental stewardship, commercial solar can make good financial sense.
Payback on a commercial system purchased outright is generally 5-7 years. However, through SunEdison, an operating lease or Power Purchase Agreement (solar PPA) backed by a performance guarantee can enable companies to avoid capital outlay and begin saving from day one.
Companies interested in going solar can contact the SunEdison commercial team on 133-SUN or via firstname.lastname@example.org.