HONOLULU, Hawaii — Part of a nationwide sustainability initiative, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii’s 150-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system at Mapunapuna Medical Office recently joined the electrical grid.
It’s the first of eight planned solar installations to be completed by the organization. When fully implemented, the operation is expected to cut Kaiser Permanente Hawaii’s energy usage by 10 percent, saving $2 million to $4 million over the 20-year power purchase agreement.
The 500-panel rooftop installation at Mapunapuna is the Hawaii region’s latest contribution to Kaiser Permanente’s national sustainable energy initiative, which launched in 2012. A second Kaiser Permanente solar project, the 117-kilowatt (kW) system at Koolau Medical Office in Kaneohe, is scheduled to go live later this month. Six additional facilities, including Honolulu Medical Office (390 kW), Nanaikeola Clinic (124 kW), and Hilo Clinic (130 kW), are under construction and scheduled for completion in 2016.
Together, the eight solar photovoltaic systems are projected to produce 3.2 million kilowatt-hours per year — enough energy to power more than 500 Hawaii homes annually, or the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from 474 passenger vehicles.
“Affordable health care and sustainable, energy-efficient operations go hand in hand,” said Mary Ann Barnes, president of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, in a statement. “We will continue to invest in projects that reduce our carbon footprint while providing cost-effective energy solutions. Lowering the environmental impacts of our care operations benefits the entire community.”
Over the next decade, Kaiser Permanente plans to reduce its energy usage by 20 percent and its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in the Hawaii region alone. Its investments in sustainability throughout Hawaii include reflective roofing for cooler buildings, lower-energy LED light bulbs and motion-sensor lighting at several of its facilities.
Elsewhere throughout the state, the Koolau Medical Office in Kaneohe opened in 2013 as one of Kaiser Permanente’s two LEED Gold-certified facilities. It’s the first medical office in the state of Hawaii to receive LEED certification. Kona Medical Office, the second facility to obtain LEED Gold certification, opened in 2014 with energy-efficient infrastructure and electric vehicle charging stations.
Kaiser Permanente Hawaii is on a mission to be as eco-friendly as possible. Last year, the organization recycled and reprocessed more than 2.3 tons of medical supplies, and donated or reallocated more than 4 tons of old equipment and furniture, preventing it from ending up in state landfills. Kaiser Permanente also initiated a region-wide plastic bag ban in 2013, the first health care organization in Hawaii to do so.