Kingston General Hospital (Kingston General) has announced that it will install 95 kW worth of solar panels on the rooftop of its Kidd Wing. The project is one of several measures the hospital will take between now and 2012 to make its operations more energy efficient and incorporate alternative sources of power. Kingston General will work to ensure that the new solar installation complies with the eligibility criteria under Ontario’s feed-in tariff (FIT) program, which pays high prices for green energy and helps create new career opportunities in the energy sector. The hospital will also receive $118,000 from Utilities Kingston to help pay for the renovations.
Ontario passed its Green Energy Act in May of 2009, paving the way for the province to establish the continent’s first FIT program. The FIT pays producers of green energy to tie into the electrical grid, provided that they meet certain requirements. Among them, owners of participating projects must certify that a certain percentage of parts and labour were sourced in Ontario. The Act and the program’s financial incentives encourage people to switch to alternative sources of energy and create opportunities for manufacturing and career training, such as certification courses for solar installers.
Alternative Energy Part of Greater, Greener Objective
The Kidd Wing solar installation is part of an agreement between Kingston General and New Jersey-based Honeywell for a $10.5 million upgrade to the hospital’s medical research and career training infrastructure. In addition to the solar PV panels, the company will also help the hospital install a high-efficiency hot water condensing boiler plant, replace 250 windows in its heritage Watkins building, update fixtures to include more energy efficient models, and install low-flow toilets and sinks.
Kingston General expects to prevent the release of 2,200 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually with the new upgrades and save more than 70,000 cubic metres of water per year. The hospital overhaul reflects a province-wide move toward greater energy efficiency and an overall commitment on the part of Ontarians to act as stewards of the environment, protecting it for future generations.