Solar Panels Heating Up at Kaiser Permanente

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Solar panels now being installed at the Mission Bay Medical Office Building garage in San Francisco (pictured) will be doubly effective — saving both energy and money.

Kaiser Permanente’s Mission Bay Medical Office Building (MOB) has been up and running since March 8.

But it has one more new feature in the works: photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.

The panels now being installed in the parking garage adjacent to the MOB will over time save energy and money.

Installation began in July and is scheduled to be completed by November.

Jay Muphy, who manages capital projects for Kaiser Permanente’s Greater San Francisco Service Area, described the panels as “looking like a carport” with the PV panels on top instead of open sky.

He added that the garage is co-owned by Kaiser Permanente and Alexander Real Estate. Kaiser Permanente owns 560 of the spaces and partnered with Alexander to install the solar panels.

“The installation is part of our Mission Bay Medical Office Building LEED Platinum certification,” Murphy said. “We are proud to have the first LEED Platinum medical office supported with solar panels in a neighborhood now growing with tech industry companies.”

LEED Platinum

The MOB at 1600 Owens Street recently became Kaiser Permanente’s first to earn the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification for its sustainability and environmentally conscious design. The solar panels are key to that designation.

Murphy explained that the platinum certification — the highest possible — hinges on a “huge checklist for sustainability” that involves points for energy reduction and credit for solar panels. As part of that planning, Kaiser Permanente designed and permitted the MOB for the panels.

As such, they will connect from the garage by a conduit under the road and then by pipe into an electrical room in the MOB.

The end result?

“The PV panels should eventually provide 5 to 10 percent of the power and electrical usage for all of the Mission Bay Medical Office Building,” Murphy said.

Part of the Big Picture

The solar panels are part of a nationwide effort to install panels in Kaiser Permanente sites when appropriate.

“It may not be feasible if there is shading at a facility, for example, but where we can put them in, we will,” said Seth Baruch, Kaiser Permanente’s National Director of Energy & Utilities.

Currently, there are solar panels in 12 sites in California, four in Hawaii, five in Colorado, and one in Oregon.

“We see our on-site solar program as a key tool to reach carbon neutrality footprint by 2020,” said Baruch.

He references Kaiser Permanente’s public pledge made last May that included specific commitments to the environment that ranged from becoming “carbon net positive” to reducing water usage.

“While the Mission Bay MOB is not Kaiser Permanente’s first with solar panels, it will be the first of a much larger program at 85 different locations throughout California where we will be putting solar on more sites than we ever have before,” Baruch added.

Murphy said that while it’s a bit early for community feedback on the panels now in the middle of installation, he has heard from impressed Kaiser Permanente members and employees — and the San Francisco City Planning staff, who said that having a LEED platinum building in San Francisco is “a great thing for the city.”

Learn more about Kaiser Permanente’s environmental goals.

Discussion1 Comment

  1. I am so proud that Kaiser is being sustainable and going solar where possible. I have a 2 array bank on my house here in Oregon and only pay $25 a month for 8 months out of the year. My panels create energy for the community and we get credits during the winter months. So it is a win win situation! I would encourage everyone one to get solar if possible.

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