Hospitals across western Sydney embrace sustainability with money-saving solar panels

An aerial view of the solar panels on Auburn Hospital, Auburn Community Health Centre and the car park.

Solar panels on the roofs of western Sydney hospitals are generating enough electricity to power a hundred homes a year and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.

Auburn, Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals are now fitted with solar panels, along with The Hills and Auburn community health centres, as part of a sustainability initiative at Western Sydney Local Health District.

They have a combined capacity of 1,363 kilowatts (KW) and are estimated to save $225,000 annually in electricity costs. To put this in perspective, the average home uses 13.7KW per day.

Auburn Hospital has installed solar panels to help with the environment and reduce the amount of electricity it draws from the electricity grid.

The Blacktown Hospital solar project alone can produce up to 830KW, making it the second largest solar project in the NSW Health network.

Rajiv Kapoor, works coordinator and sustainability lead for WSLHD, said the district has also replaced more than 2,000 fluorescent lights with more energy efficient LED lights in corridors and carparks at Westmead and Blacktown hospitals.

“These new lights have not only improved lighting and visibility in these areas, they also have no maintenance costs for the next five years, and so that’s another money saver for the district.

“Our combined efforts have led to annual savings of nearly $350,000 so far, and at the same time we’re doing the planet a favour by lowering our environmental footprint,” Raj said.

The sustainability team is now working on upgrading 40,000 lights across the district, which would save $1.4 million in power and maintenance costs as well as reduce carbon emissions by 6,269 tonnes annually.

“I’m excited by the progress our District is making toward environmental sustainability,” WSLHD chief executive Graeme Loy said.

“We’re doing our part while also improving patient experience with more greenery and better lighting, which is a win-win for all concerned.”