Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital (SVMH) in Monterey County, California is leading the way to improving air quality and saving energy with the completion of the largest solar installation at a hospital.Salinas, California – March 11, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] A project group brought together by Bizquests, Inc. of Aptos, California developed, designed and installed the 150 kW solar power system, which uses 1,008 high-performance solar panels from Shell Solar industries. Heading up the design and project management team were Princeton Energy Systems of Philadelphia and Solar Works of Montpelier, Vermont. Solar Works also took the lead on installation and construction. “The earth receives as much energy from sunlight in 20 days as is believed to be stored in the Earth’s entire reserves of coal, oil and natural gas. By undertaking this project, Salinas Hospital is a leader in creating a sustainable energy future for generations to come” said Vickie Powell, CEO Bizquests, Inc. On peak days, the solar power system supplies about two-thirds of the daytime electric needs of the building. “We see this as a fulfillment of our promise to be neighbors who care,” said Sam Downing, President/CEO of SVMH. “We think it is important for good neighbors to be environmentally conscious, so that’s why it is a priority for us to turn to this clean, renewable energy source.” It was very important to the hospital administration that the new “SolarPort” structure not only be space saving, but also inconspicuous — the end result is a structure that looks similar to covered parking. The new design generates clean energy, while providing shade for approximately 80 parking spaces. In addition to being a good environmental citizen, SVMH will reap savings benefits since many states, including California, provide incentives to businesses connected to the power grid that installs energy savings systems. SVMH qualified for PG&E’s Self-Generation Program and has received a US$595,000 cash rebate from the utility for the SolarPort. Consistent with its philosophy of being a good environmental citizen, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital has begun another energy reduction project that will provide an additional US$500,000 rebate while lowering non-patient-related costs, improving air quality and reducing our county’s dependence on imported oil. By installing this solar power system, not only does the hospital reduce its load on the power grid, it is reducing the consumption of fossil fuels by 13,700 barrels of oil; or 4,500 tons of coal; or one billion cubic feet of natural gas. With a portion of its electrical power coming from the sun, instead of a power plant, SVMH is preventing the following pollutants from entering the atmosphere: 36 tons of nitrous oxide (smog), 57 tons of sulfur oxides (acid rain), 8,597 tons of carbon dioxide (global warming).