Norfolk hospital bids to install 1,500 solar panels to save on bills and cut carbon

The James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston.

The James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Almost 1,500 solar panels could be installed at a Norfolk hospital in a bid to keep electricity bills down and cut carbon.

The James Paget University Hospital (JPH) in Gorleston has submitted a planning application to Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

Managers are seeking permission for 1,444 solar panels which would be mounted on frames around the hospital grounds.

They would be in rows spaced 6m apart to minimise the effect of shadows.

It is understood the scheme would be funded centrally by the Department of Health, which has a multi-million pound national scheme to help energy efficiency projects in the NHS.

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A hospital spokesman said it is too early to say how much money could be saved, but the application reveals the proposed system could generate 350kw.

The panels would be 2.2m in height and would be sited at the northern boundary of the JPH grounds, the western boundary and the south west corner.

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In the application, the site is described as 'bounded to the south by domestic housing with recreational ground to the west.

'There is mature vegetation to the west of the site with allotments further on.

'The hospital is a busy site with many buildings and car parks.'

The energy generated by the proposed panels equates to 308 tonnes of carbon saved per year, the application states.

It adds: 'The proposal will therefore contribute significantly towards the regional targets for renewable energy generation.'

A representative from Mosscliff Environmental visited the hospital to evaluate the 'landscape character' and identify any potential problems.

They said the area has enough sun light for the system to be viable, and deemed the impact on the look of the surrounding landscape as 'low'.

In 2013-14 the Department of Health made £50m of capital available for such schemes, helping to meet the ambitions outlined in the NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy for England (CRS).

The NHS nationally is estimated to have spent £583m on consumed energy in 2011-12.

The JPH's planning application was lodged on Thursday, January 9 and is now out to consultation.

A decision is expected to be made by the borough council's planning committee by Friday, April 11.

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