6,000 solar panels installed at Salem VA - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

6,000 solar panels installed at Salem VA

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SALEM, VA -

Construction crews are installing solar panels at the Salem VA Medical Center.

6,084 panels are going on a six acre closed landfill.  They say the power produced is about 10-percent of the medical center's annual electrical load, saving the VA about $160,000 every year.

The project comes at a cost of just under $5-million and they say if electricity costs remain the same it will be paid off in 25 years of savings.

The grid should be online by mid-November.

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Salem VA Medical Center news release:

A six acre closed landfill has become the site of an energy efficiency project with the installation of 6,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels.

  The panels can produce 270 watts each of direct current (DC) electrical power using the sun's radiant energy.  When converted from DC power into alternating power (AC), the resulting power can be utilized on the electrical grid of the medical center and produce approximately 10% of the medical center's annual electrical load.   In addition it will be a cost saving measure for the facility and reduce facility impact on the APCO electric grid during peak usage times during the day.  

          "Following an environmental assessment, this particular use of otherwise undeveloped land was an ideal location for this project," stated Robert Rossbacher, Energy Engineer at the medical center.  "The property provides an angle and faces south which enables the optimum capture of solar energy collection.  Unlike the use of coal as a source of energy, the use of solar technology for electricity produces no greenhouse gas emissions."

"This particular project uses a "floating system" so it does not penetrate the underlying ground causing minimal disruption of the environment in the area," added Rossbacher.  The landfill system provides an easy access for maintenance.  Many  systems are located on a rooftop which complicates access for maintenance.  The cost of the non-recurring funding for the energy project is just under $5 million dollars.

"The medical center continues to look at additional ways in which to make our operations more energy efficient and cost effective.  Utilization of the photovoltaic panels is just one way in we can accomplish that goal," stated Rossbacher.

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