A BORDER nursing home is harnessing the power of the sun as part of a 10-year plan to slash its electricity costs by up to 40 per cent.
Dubbed “the energy efficiency program”, residents at the Murray Vale Shalem Hostel in Lavington can now enjoy up to 200 kilowatts of renewable energy from the sun each day.
That is thanks to a 45 kilowatt hybrid solar system, one of the first systems of its kind in Australia.
As well as solar power, the hostel — run by UPA Murray River Region Aged Care Services — is also fitting LED lighting, set to reduce lighting costs by 50 per cent.
One feature of the system is that in the event of a power outage the nursing home will still have enough battery-stored power to last another 48 hours.
About $180,000 is being spent on the project, which involves 160 panels.
But UPA Murray Region manager Marianne Warren said the hostel would recover the cost of its investment in about 10 years.
“The project will eventually pay for itself and in the meantime it will reduce costs significantly,” she said.
The LED lighting project will also be of great benefit for the 59 residents.
“The overall reduction in electricity costs means we will spend less on bills and be able to spend more money on the care of our residents,” she said.
“And as well as being energy efficient, LED lighting is also more friendly to the elderly.”
UPA also plans to implement the energy efficiency program at its Jindera, Holbrook, Henty, Howlong and Wagga retirement homes.