The Commonwealth Health Care Corp. has completed the construction of the Photovoltaic System Parking Shade Structure—its solar power project that doubles as a covered parking lot at the Commonwealth Health Center—and is still on track to getting the solar energy connected to the CHC grid in the first quarter of 2020.
In an interview with CHCC spokesperson Zoe Travis, the construction of the structure is now complete; it’s just a matter of getting the solar energy into the hospital grid, considered phase one of the project.
“Everything’s done in terms of building the structures. The big thing now is connecting all [the wires and cables] so that it’s actually drawing power and putting it into the CHC. That, I believe, is still ongoing. It may have been partially implemented, but it hasn’t been like finalized at this point. But the actual construction is all finished,” she said.
The construction of the project was started back in October 2019 and was completed Jan. 31.
According to Saipan Tribune archives, the project which was worth $903,301, would allow the CHCC to produce 160 kilowatts of its own power from the solar panels.
The project follows CHCC’s upgrades on the hospital’s water system and is ultimately intended to help the hospital lower its energy cost, boost its energy efficiency, and reduce its carbon footprint.
The project was made possible after CHCC received a $560,000 grant from the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs Energizing Insular Communities program.
The first phase of CHCC’s solar power project was partially funded by the $560,000 grant provided by the Department of the Interior but CHCC had to cover the remaining $342,301.
CHCC board members temporarily agreed to source the amount from the fiscal year 2019 budget request from the Legislature to cover the $342,301.
CHCC CEO Esther Muña said in a previous article that the project is long overdue for a healthcare facility like CHC, as it would save them money that they can used for other services.
CHCC estimates to save as much as $700,000 a year on its utility bills once the solar project is completed.