The Island Hammock Pet Hospital in Key Largo has gone greener: The clinic at mile marker 98.2 has installed the largest array of solar panels in the Upper Keys.
Hospital staff says the 30.24 kW system is projected to generate 75 percent of the electric power needed to run the hospital and covers nearly the entire 2,000 square feet roof of the hospital.
"We live in the Keys because of its unique and beautiful environment," owner Dr. Martha Edwards said. "We are concerned long-term about sea-level rise and want to do everything we can to decrease our environmental impact. By going to solar power, Island Hammock Pet Hospital significantly reduced its carbon footprint. With various government incentives, the system costs have come down enough that going solar is now economical. Solar power is good for our practice as well as the environment."
Over the 25-year life of the system, its use will prevent nearly 1,000 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, according to Solar Energy Management Inc., the system installer. That is the equivalent of planting about 23,000 trees, recycling 3,000 tons of solid waste instead of landfilling it, or not burning almost 500 tons of coal.
Edwards estimates the solar panels will return the hospital's investment in six years. The system is state-of-the-art technology providing a 98.5 percent energy efficiency, with annual energy production estimated at 48,000 kilowatt hours. Power generated from the solar panels is inverted into air conditioning and sent to the hospital's electrical meter. When excess power is generated, it is sent to the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative grid.
Said FKEC chief executive Scott Newberry, "We welcome them as the newest of nearly 40 interconnected members who have the potential to sell us their excess solar-generated electricity."
Island Hammock's two-story concrete building is well insulated, making it ideally suited for energy efficiency and conservation. "Water-smart" fixtures and its appliances, computers and servers all are Energy Star rated; Energy Star is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program that rates the efficiency of appliances when it comes to electricity.
To learn more about the system and view live system-power generation metrics, visit www.ihhp.net.