West Coast General Hospital a leader in energy efficiency

April 20, 2016

Port Alberni - The new photovoltaic solar panel system now operating at West Coast General Hospital is Island Health’s first-ever photovoltaic installation, and the largest solar panel installation of its kind on Vancouver Island. Four other Island Health facilities are currently using solar thermal installations to pre-heat domestic water and have reduced natural gas consumption by 850 GJ per year.

“Island Health is leading the way when it comes to reducing an environmental footprint on Vancouver Island,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “The new solar panels at West Coast General Hospital show responsible stewardship by lowering emissions, which also translates into cost savings that are beneficial to the health system.”      

The 404-panel system was designed and installed by Terratek Energy Solutions, based in Courtenay. Photovoltaic cells are semi-conductor devices made of two very thin layers of specially treated material (commonly silicon). They convert sunlight directly into electricity.

In addition to being the largest installation of its kind on Vancouver Island, the new system is the largest photovoltaic installation in BC to be administered under the BC Hydro Net Metering Program. Three larger systems exist in the province and are administered by other programs.

“Island Health is committed to finding innovative ways to improve our patient environment and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Deanna Fourt, Director of Energy Efficiency and Conservation for Island Health. “The solar panels at West Coast General Hospital will allow us to reduce our energy consumption, offset our electrical energy costs and produce some of our own electricity.”

The project is one of several initiatives Island Health has successfully undertaken to reduce greenhouse gases and improve energy efficiency. A waste-heat recovery project at Royal Jubilee Hospital is saving 3,973 GJ annually, enough to heat 400 homes, and at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, waste heat recovered by a high-efficiency chiller is being used to pre-heat domestic water.

Across Island Health, new buildings are now built to LEED Gold standard, enrolled in the BC Hydro New Construction Program and designed to achieve energy targets set by Island Health.  This ensures that new infrastructure is as energy efficient and low greenhouse-gas-emitting as possible.

More information on these green energy projects is available in the report Leading by Example: The First Five Years of Carbon Neutral Government in British Columbia. More information is also available in Island Health’s 2014 Carbon Neutral Action Report.
Central/North Island media inquiries

Valerie Wilson
Manager, Regional Communications

South Island media inquiries:

Kellie Hudson
Media Relations Manager