The commercial solar sector in South Australia has been getting a major boost from aged care facilities across the state, according to local panel maker Tindo Solar, which currently has a pipeline of more than 500kW of rooftop solar projects from that sector alone, worth more than $1 million.
Tindo Solar founder and Managing Director Adrian Ferraretto said in a company statement on Tuesday that demand from the South Australian aged care market over the past year had been unprecedented, with more and more providers seeking to cut their long-term operating costs.
Ferraretto said the company had secured seven major commercial solar projects in aged care over the past 12 months, including two 100kW rooftop systems, one 96kW system, and one at 90kW.
But while Ferraretto describes this level of interest as “extraordinary,” he also sees aged care facilities as a perfect fit for solar PV.
“(They) generally have a high electricity demand due to their 24-hour requirements, so as traditional energy prices continue to rise, it’s actually not surprising that more facilities are now pursuing solar electricity as a cheaper, renewable alternative,” he said.
Ferraretto said Tindo had recently completed the installation of 100kW systems at Fullarton Lutheran Homes and St Hilarion Aged Care, and was in the process of installing another 100kW system at Martindale Aged Care – “arguably the largest solar arrays” installed by aged care facilities in the state.
“And we’re anticipating even bigger projects in the future as we’ve found that solar energy generation fits really well with the demand profile of aged care facilities,” he said.
“Crucially, it also allows facility owners to capitalise on a complete return on investment, typically well within five years.”
The Bennett Aged Care Group, for example – which operates Martindale Aged Care at Gawler and Valley View Residential Care – has estimated that the PV systems at these two facilities will result in combined energy savings of almost $100,000 a year.
“Increasing energy costs are putting enormous strain on the finances of many businesses, including aged care facilities, so to find an alternative electricity source that is superior both financially and environmentally is fantastic,” said Bennett Aged Care Group Managing Director Michael Bennett.
Other examples from elsewhere in Australia include NSW’s Yass Valley Aged Care (YVAC), which installed a 100kW PV system early last year that was expected to reduce its energy bills by more than $52,000 a year; and the Olivet Aged Persons Home in Ringwood, Victoria, which also installed a 100kW system that was projected to cut the facility’s annual bills by around $34,000.