ROCHESTER, NY- In the latest step toward the organization’s commitment to use 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025, Rochester Regional Health announced the activation of the second-largest single-site solar farm in New York State.
“We’re standing here under this grey December sky because solar energy works,” remarked Rochester Regional Health President and CEO Eric Bieber, MD. “It works in upstate New York and it works all year around. We’re so confident in this investment, we chose to announce it as we approach darkest day of the year,” he continued, referring to the winter solstice on December 21.
The 5.48 megawatt (MW) solar farm will generate more than 6.5 million kilowatt hours in its first year. It’s enough to power more than 1,000 average homes, but for Rochester Regional, it will power more than 120 off-site medical practices and support facilities.
“By sourcing clean, renewable energy, we’re not only controlling electricity costs for our organization, we’re reducing the amount of harmful greenhouse gas, CO2 and carbon emissions released each year,” explained Rochester Regional Health Director of Sustainability Mike Waller, PhD. “We’re a health care system, and this is another important way we can keep people healthier.”
Each year, the solar farm will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking more than 1,000 passenger vehicles off the road and reduce CO2 emissions by the same amount as burning 550,000 fewer gallons of gasoline.
The 20-acre plot of land in Parma, New York had not been used for farming in nearly two decades, so the solar farm, comprised of nearly 17,000 solar panels, has given the land new purpose.
The solar farm marks the latest milestone on a journey that began in October 2017, when Rochester Regional Health announced that by 2025, all electricity used by the system will be from renewable sources. It remains the most ambitious sustainability commitment shared publicly by any health system in New York State, and is matched or exceeded by only a handful of other systems in the nation.
“This is the time to take these bold steps forward,” Bieber continued. We have found a way to make smart business decisions that pay for themselves while making our environment cleaner and healthier. It’s simply the right thing to do and we hope others will join us and do the same.”
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