Kaiser Permanente joins a number of businesses in making significant commitments for solar deployment. The company already has solar panels at 13 locations with a generation capacity of 11.3 MW, and it plans to add up to 50 MW of new solar installations.
Last week, the White House announced a number of commitments for solar deployment in both the private and the public sectors. One of the companies participating in this solar push is Kaiser Permanente, which already has solar panels at 13 locations with a generation capacity of 11.3 MW.
Now, Kaiser Permanente is committing to increase its onsite solar generation capacity by as much as 50 MW, with additional installations planned for its medical campuses and other locations.
The announcement not only accompanied President Obama’s support for solar but also came days after the White House released its National Climate Assessment report on the effects of climate change in the U.S. Kaiser Permanente is making the connection between the effects of climate change and their business, health care.
“It’s clear that changes in our climate are having an impact on human health,” said Kathy Gerwig, vice president and environmental stewardship officer at Kaiser Permanente. “Harnessing renewable energy to power the care we provide reflects our dedication to improving the health of our members and the communities we serve.”
In 2012, Kaiser Permanente adopted a national sustainable energy policy and launched an ambitious strategy to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020 (compared to 2008 levels). Developing onsite generation of renewable power plays a significant role in meeting this goal.
Kaiser Permanente’s existing arrays at 13 locations — including hospitals, medical offices, and a distribution center — generated 18 million kWh of electricity in 2013. That would be enough electricity to power about 1, 200 average American homes each year.
Kaiser Permanente detailed the specifics of its new commitment to solar power:
Kaiser Permanente will increase its onsite generation capacity in 2014 with solar installations at many additional locations, including in Hawaii and at its Oakland Medical Center in California and Hidden Lake Medical Offices in Colorado.
The company will also assess more than 100 of its locations in California for the potential to add onsite solar. The effort could increase the organization’s total onsite generation capacity by as much as 50 MW.
Together, these solar initiatives could increase the organization’s onsite renewable generation from 2% to between 6% and 8% of its total electricity needs in California. And of course, this will save money.
“Pursuing clean energy opportunities is not only the right thing to do for our communities, it makes good business sense,” said Ramé Hemstreet, vice president of facilities operations and Kaiser Permanente’s chief energy officer.
In addition to its onsite use, Kaiser Permanente purchases more than 42 million kWh of renewable energy certificates annually. The organization is also exploring an opportunity to purchase renewable energy through a large offsite project that could reduce Kaiser Permanente’s carbon footprint by more than 10%.
Kaiser Permanente is the largest user of solar power among U.S. healthcare providers. The company received a 2013 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.