Photo voltaic-plus-storage techniques at any of the nation’s 14,000 neighborhood well being facilities can hold them operating even throughout energy outages, and protect medicines that require refrigeration. A Florida research examined the price of the well being care system and the monetary returns.
The Florida Affiliation of Group Well being Facilities (FACHC) is reaching out to its well being middle members in Florida to enhance resilience to energy outages.
Well being facilities’ choices for backup energy techniques embody solar-plus-storage, not simply turbines, “which is what most of our well being facilities have,” stated Gianna Van Winkle, in a webinar. Van Winkle is the affiliation’s director of emergency administration packages and lead writer of the affiliation’s report “Supporting Entry to Well being Care: Constructing Emergency Energy for Florida’s Group Well being Facilities.”
The affiliation surveyed its members about energy outages and any backup techniques presently in use on the facilities, after which facilitated screening research for solar-plus-storage installations at seven Florida well being facilities. American Microgrid Options, an organization that designs and develops microgrids, is making ready screening research. The outcomes are proven within the desk beneath from the FACHC report.
Marriele Mango, mission director of the nonprofit Clear Power Group and co-author of the report, acknowledged that photo voltaic+storage techniques usually “do not pay for themselves,” given the small annual utility financial savings, as proven within the desk.
Andrew MacCalla, well being resiliency advisor on the humanitarian group Direct Reduction, stated the monetary return on funding for solar-plus-storage techniques in well being facilities might be sufficient to justify techniques in California, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, New England and the Northeast, which have greater electrical energy prices. Direct Reduction put in clear vitality microgrids in about 20 well being facilities in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria utilizing donated funds, stated MacCalla.
In areas with low electrical energy prices, evaluating the well being advantages could also be extra necessary in making the funding case. Potential advantages embody offering uninterrupted refrigeration for medication and vaccines that require refrigeration, and offering continuity of care to sufferers who could must drive to a distant hospital for care. Well being facilities in Florida reported a mean monetary price of $41,000 per day from not having emergency energy, counting prices comparable to lacking treatment and vaccines, canceled appointments, and staff-related prices, stated the FACHC report.
Photo voltaic-plus-storage screening research are deliberate for eight different well being facilities in Florida. All well being middle websites creating solar-plus-storage via the FACHC mission have a hybrid system consisting of photo voltaic, storage and a fossil-fuel generator. Some have already got a generator, and a few will add one. Direct Reduction has dedicated to funding the set up of as much as 15 techniques in Florida.
Concerning well being facilities’ curiosity in integrating solar-plus-storage with present turbines, Van Winkle stated that “some well being facilities have had good expertise with the turbines they’ve. Once more, after Hurricane Ian, I heard about loads of well being facilities that had their generator broken by particles, or flooded, or had some form of overheating or mechanical failure, or a gasoline leak. So I feel we’re all realistically conscious that they might fail. However till you expertise one thing like that your self, you is probably not motivated to search out one thing new.
As a attainable supply of funding for solar-plus-storage, well being facilities throughout the nation are eligible to use for mitigation funding from the Federal Emergency Administration Company (FEMA), says the FACHC report, which explains that mitigation funding is a type of non-emergency catastrophe help.
MacCalla stated the Nationwide Affiliation of Group Well being Facilities is “very concerned” in educating well being facilities concerning the worth of robust emergency powers, and offering case research “to indicate which of their companions are doing it and why well being facilities ought to attempt to do it.”
About 14,000 Federally Certified Well being Facilities throughout the USA present medical care in areas the place financial, geographic, or cultural obstacles restrict entry to well being care.
Putting in a clear vitality microgrid in all 14,000 neighborhood well being facilities nationwide would require an funding of $3 billion to $5 billion, MacCalla stated, that means a mean price of between $215,000 and $360,000 per system.
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