Huge Solar Power System For Hospital In Bundaberg

Solar panels for hospital in Bundaberg

“The Friendlies” Going Solar | Image: Friendly Society Private Hospital

The Friendly Society Private Hospital in Bundaberg, Queensland is investing $1 million in solar panels, solar hot water and LED lighting to slash its increasing energy costs.

In what’s believed to be the largest solar array at a hospital in the nation, 1,253 solar panels will be installed on the rooftop of the hospital building and maintenance shed; with a total capacity of 545kW.

The final decision to go solar was spurred on by a notification of a 30% increase to the hospital’s $80,000 per month electricity bill.

“This system will save The Friendlies millions of dollars,” said the hospital’s Business Development Manager, Stuart Bonnett. “As a not-for-profit hospital, that is millions of dollars that go back into services for our patients and this community. We will be able to reduce our impact on the environment at the same time.”

Rapid Payback

The hospital will see a rapid payback period on the installation – just 4 years. The solar power system, which will generate 25.6% of the hospital’s electricity needs, will save the hospital $3.1M in the first 10 years and $6.9M by year 20.

With regard to the solar hot water aspect, 660 evacuated tubes will be installed; saving the hospital $84,000 per year on gas costs. The payback period on the solar hot water system will be 3.2 years.

“The Friendlies”, as the hospital is affectionately known,  is also installing LED lighting to reduce energy consumption. Between the solar PV and lighting upgrade, mains grid electricity consumption is expected to be reduced by 1,148,000kWh in the first year.

The project is being carried out without any State or Federal funding says Mr. Bonnett.

The PV system will be installed by Bundaberg based solar firm, GEM Energy Australia over the next 3 months.

“We’ve seen some good systems installed here in Bundaberg and the installation for The Friendlies will be the largest roof top installation in the area,” said GEM Energy Australia’s Craig Book.

Mr. Book said there had been an increase in wholesale energy prices of more than 50% in Queensland over the past year that is now being felt by large market electricity customers and heavily impacting on their profitability.

The Friendly Society Private Hospital has been providing health care to the Bundaberg and Wide Bay Community for 70 years. The 143-bed facility offers a range of services including surgical, cardiac, oncology, allied health and pharmacy. The hospital states it has invested millions in refurbishment and facility upgrades over the past seven years.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Electricity prices go up but solar prices go down = more solar installed which reduces income for electricity providers which means electricity prices go up again. Market forces at work. At this point renewables probably don’t even need monetary government support, only regulation modifications. More and more business are taking matters into their own hands.

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