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Great River Health Dedicates 30 Acres to Solar Power

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Great River Health has begun construction on what is expected to be one of the largest privately-owned solar arrays in Iowa. Thirty acres of health system-owned land immediately south of its West Burlington campus will harvest energy from the sun. The solar array should be functional in early 2020.

“Over the 25-year lifespan of the solar array, we anticipate saving $253,000 a year in utility costs,” said Daryl Wolff, operations manager, Great River Health Facilities Department. “We will reduce our electricity consumption by 25 percent.”

Great River Medical Center, which is part of Great River Health, has been one of the most energy-efficient hospitals in the U.S. since it opened in 2000. With an Energy Star rating of 100 – the top score, the hospital consumes 40 percent less electricity, gas, and steam than the average hospital, according to Grumman/Butkus Associates’ annual Hospital Energy and Water Benchmarking Survey.

The 10,600 solar panels in the 4-megawatt system will track the sun’s movement to maximize energy production.

Solar energy will complement the health system’s use of a geothermal heating and cooling system in West Burlington. Besides using the environment for energy production and savings, the health system reduces waste by recycling about one-third of its nonmedical waste.