Hospice by the Bay, a Larkspur-Calif.-based nonprofit, expects to see recent investments in solar power and efficient lighting pay off with substantially reduced energy costs and a diminished carbon footprint.
The new 158 kW solar panel system was installed in the organization’s administrative offices in Fall 2018. The system began producing electricity in January after receiving approval from local government and the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E).
The roof-mounted 433 high-efficiency panels are positioned for maximum southern sun exposure. The hospice expects the system to produce 217,015 kWh annually.
“Over the life of the system this should save us between 25 and 27 percent of energy usage. This will definitely save us money,” said Chief Financial Officer Denis Viscek. “But it’s about more than that. We are committed to going green and reducing our carbon footprint.”
During the life of the system, nearly 7.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide generated by the hospice’s operations will be eliminated, according to SolarCraft, the system’s manufacturer. This impact is equivalent to removing air pollution produced by more than 9 million miles of driving over 25 years, or the pollutants removed by 176 acres of trees in one year.
Excess power generated during the day is banked by PG&E for credit towards future use, also reducing the strain on the local power grid.
In addition to the solar project, the hospice worked with PG&E to replace all of its fluorescent lighting with light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
“PG&E was willing to finance this. We pay them back through a four- to five-year energy savings plan. We expect this to reduce our energy consumption by 5 percent. It’s a significant savings,” Viscek said.
Found in 1975 as Hospice of Marin, Hospice of the Bay was the first hospice in the state of California and the second established in the United States.