Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital’s taking big stride toward energy independence

At first glance, the new solar array at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital represents the latest major effort to reduce Sonoma County’s overall carbon footprint in the ongoing battle against climate change.

For Sutter Health, the solar panels are a big step toward greater energy independence and less reliance on a utility severely weakened by bigger and deadlier wildfires.

“The impetus is really sustainability and self-reliance, so that we don’t have to rely on PG&E,” hospital spokesman Shaun Ralston said. “There’s also the potential terror threat when you’re on the grid. … There’s a desire to be off the grid, because we don’t want to deal with the vulnerability.”

With the capacity to generate 2.4 million kilowatt-hours a year, Sutter’s solar array could power 500 patient rooms, or 206 homes, during that period. The solar panels are located on carports throughout the extensive parking lots that surround Sutter’s main hospital and adjacent medical office building in north Santa Rosa.

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Martin Espinoza, June 14 2019