Asheville Eye Associates

Project Profile

2016

Solar Electric

This uniquely configured 138.5 kW net-metered solar system will produce approximately 20% of the electricity used by the medical facility, with an annual estimated production of 188.8 megawatt hours of electricity. SolarWorld’s 285 watt modules are optimized with SolarEdge technology for maximum production.

As featured in our January 2016 newsletter:

When viewed from above, the layout of the four hundred and eighty-six (486) solar electric modules  recently installed  for Asheville Eye Associates demonstrates that commercial solar isn’t limited to  large, flat or south-facing  roofs. Indeed the multi-angled roof slopes of the architecturally interesting building provide not only for a very unique configuration, but for energy production that is spread though out the day. The design of the system utilizes eastern, southern, and western- facing slopes so that as the sun travels across the sky energy production occurs mid- morning through late afternoon, ultimately providing approximately 20 percent of the electricity consumed by the 38,000 square foot facility.

The 13-physician group at Asheville Eye Associates explored solar technologies as a means to  “go green” and reduce fossil fuel consumption at its main facility. “Global concerns about climate change, and regional air and water quality are issues which affect all of us who live and work in Western North Carolina.  So it makes sense for us to move towards sustainable energy strategies such as solar power as we renovate our facilities,” stated Edward K. Isbey, III, MD in a recent press release.

With an estimated annual production of 188.8 megawatt hours of electricity  from the 138.5 kW photovoltaic system,  the significant environmental benefits of the practice’s commitment to clean energy are quantified by the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. Approximately 139,836 pounds of coal will be offset through solar generation, preventing 130 metric tons  of carbon dioxide from being emitted. This is the equivalent of the amount of carbon taken in by 107 acres of US forest land!

Economics was another factor in the practice’s decision to install solar panels, and they were able to take advantage of  state and federal tax credits. “The technology has developed to the point that it is a sound long-term investment due to increasing energy costs and PV technology becoming more accessible and affordable,” added Dr. Robert Wiggins Jr.“In this era of rising healthcare costs, our practice is exploring all avenues to cut overhead expenses so that we may gain operating efficiencies to keep services as affordable as possible for our patients,” Wiggins said. “As business owners that process extends to all aspects of our facility construction and maintenance. By making an investment in clean energy we can realize cost savings which enable us to be fiscally and environmentally mindful and hopefully reduce the impact of pollution on the health and wellness of our community.”

While the building’s roof angles made for a  challenging installation, the  metal roofing made retrofitting solar on the 1999 facility ideal as the DPW Power Rail racking could be mounted directly to the standing seams  with S clamps, eliminating roof penetrations for securing the array to the structure. US-made SolarWorld Sunmodule Plus 285 watt modules were utilized in the system design, and their output is maximized through SolarEdge’s P600 Commercial DC Power Optimizers, connecting two modules per power optimizer. This technology highlights per-module Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT), superior efficiency, mitigation of shading impacts, and advanced real-time performance measurement and web-based  monitoring solutions.  In total, six SolarEdge three phase inverters (480V-1000VDC)  make the electricity grid-compatible, and the system is net-metered with Duke Energy.

While the shift to renewable energy resources in the healthcare sector has lagged behind the commercial and private sectors, Asheville Eye Associates sees that there is a growing commitment in the healthcare industry to reduce its carbon output. The group is pleased to be leading the way towards more healthy and sustainable operations for their community and to be one of the first medical practices in the region to embrace solar energy as a way to reduce its carbon footprint on the environment.

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