Environmental Protection

Kaiser Permanente to Install Solar at 15 California Facilities

Kaiser Permanente has agreed to deploy 15 megawatts of solar power in a deal that will put solar power systems at 15 facilities across the state by the summer of 2011. The agreement with Recurrent Energy, an independent power producer and a developer of solar power projects, launches one of the largest sustainable energy programs in U.S. health care.

Installing solar panels on the company's hospitals, medical offices, and other buildings is the first part of a larger plan to use onsite renewable energy sources to power its buildings nationwide. A focus on renewable energy sources is just one aspect of the organization’s industry-leading work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the use of harmful chemicals, and promote sustainable food choices. “What’s good for the environment is good for our health,” said Raymond J. Baxter, Ph.D., senior vice president, Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy at Kaiser Permanente. “By expanding the use of solar power, Kaiser Permanente is demonstrating its commitment to greening its energy portfolio and reducing its carbon footprint. Harnessing renewable energy to power the care we provide reflects our dedication to improving the health of our members and the communities we serve.”

The 15 MW of solar power will provide part of the electricity needed to run the buildings at the sites, which include Vallejo and Santa Clara medical centers in Northern California, and Fontana and San Diego medical centers in Southern California. The solar power systems will produce an average of 10 percent of the power Kaiser Permanente uses at these sites upon completion, equivalent to electricity used by about 1,900 homes a year.

The company agreed to purchase the solar power through power purchase agreements with San Francisco-based Recurrent Energy, which will own and operate all of the solar power systems. Citigroup, an equity investor on a portion of the projects, was a key partner in structuring the agreements, which allow the not-for-profit health plan and hospital system to partner with a private entity that is eligible for a 30 percent tax credit available to private companies such as Recurrent Energy. Kaiser Permanente also will retain all the Renewable Energy Credits awarded for these solar projects.

“These solar agreements are a major step toward the goal of including a wide array of renewable sources in our energy portfolio,” said John Kouletsis, director of Strategy, Planning and Design for Kaiser Permanente’s National Facilities Services group. In the future, energy sources could include thermal energy, wind, and fuel cells in addition to solar.

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