Kaiser Hospital Goes Live With Solar

January 10, 2011

Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Clara Medical Center recently went live with its new solar project.  Through an agreement with Recurrent Energy, an independent power producer and a developer of solar power projects, Kaiser has agreed to install solar power at 15 of its California facilities, generating 15 megawatts of energy, before the end of 2011.

“Kaiser Permanente has a long history of energy conservation and environmental stewardship, and our use of solar and other forms of renewable energy further demonstrates our ongoing commitment to improving the overall health and well-being of our members and the communities we serve,” said Gregory A. Adams, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan/Hospitals, Inc., in Northern California.

The Santa Clara Center becomes one of the country’s first major medical centers to receive a significant amount of its energy from the sun.  The system will produce enough energy to power 136 homes for a year, or about 8.5 percent of the center’s total electricity use.   The 15 megawatts of solar power from the whole project will produce an average of 10 percent of the electricity at the facilities, which include the Vallejo Medical Center in Northern California, and medical offices in Lancaster and La Mesa in Southern California.

“These solar agreements are a major step toward our goal of including a wide array of renewable sources in our energy portfolio,” said John Kouletsis, director of strategy, planning, and design for Kaiser Permanente’s National Facilities Services department.  In the future, energy sources could include thermal energy, wind, and fuel cells in addition to solar.

This move is the latest in Kaiser Permanente’s long history of energy conservation and environmental stewardship. Sustainable design and construction practices, including the use of energy-saving infrastructure and non-toxic materials, help Kaiser to build green and stay on budget.

Through its green building efforts, Kaiser Permanente:

• Saves more than $10 million per year through energy conservation strategies. A leader in environmental health care and construction, Kaiser Permanente has committed to significantly reducing its use of fossil fuels and slowing energy growth over the next 10 years.

• Will use sustainable design and construction practices to complete roughly 6.7 million square feet of new construction in the next seven years.

• Eliminated the purchase and disposal of 40 tons of harmful chemicals.

Rendering courtesy of Kaiser Permanente.



Dawn Killough

has over 15 years experience in the construction industry and is the author of Green Building Design 101, an e-book available from Amazon. She is a LEED AP and Certified Green Building Advisor, and has worked on the LEED Certification of three projects in Salem, Oregon.