A hospital is where you go to get well, so it makes sense that a hospital which is being redeveloped should be a much fitter place when all the building work is done. That includes an upgrade to a renewable energy system, and in Victoria that means solar.

The Bendigo Hospital is one of the first projects to be completed by a public-private-partership (PPP) model via a consortium that includes leading builder LendLease and finance from Siemens.

Jinko partner Autonomous Energy has successfully tendered for the project, which is currently under construction. The solar power generation system includes 770 Jinko 260W Eagle panels, and is expected to generate 800kWh per day, saving about $80,000 in operating costs a year.

Apart from hosting a solar array the hospital’s roof will also be used to collect rainwater that will held in tanks for flushing of toilets and urinals and use in macerators, cooling towers and for irrigation of the grounds and gardens.


Efficient systems including LED lighting set to timers and movement sensors and recycling of food waste for compost are also included in the design.

Autonomous Energy has a 10-year history of delivering industrial-scale clean energy systems across Australia and has recently completed projects for Toyota, Sydney Markets, ANZ Bank, Westpac, Downer, The Westin Hotel and others.

Jinko Solar Australia provided logistics support for the project from its Brisbane and Sydney offices and staged the supply via its Melbourne warehouse.

The hospital is expected to open in January. So if you’re in Bendigo after then and are feeling a bit green, why not drop in for a visit?


Q&A: Mark Gadd, managing director, Autonomous Energy

What is the background to the project and how did it come about?

The Bendigo Hospital Project is the largest regional hospital development in Victoria, built by Lend Lease. Autonomous Energy has worked with Lend Lease on a number of construction projects to deliver the solar component of the new development. Lend Lease engaged Autonomous Energy through a competitive tender process to design, supply, install and commission the 200kW solar PV system at the new Bendigo Hospital.

What is noteworthy about this project?

It’s a positive development in our transition to sustainable energy that solar is being incorporated into many new developments these days including vital social infrastructure like the new Bendigo Hospital. Autonomous Energy was engaged early in the design stages and its engineering team worked closely with the architect and builder to design and install the system. From experience Lend Lease was aware of the benefits in utilising Autonomous Energy’s in house engineering capacity to ensure the layout of the solar modules did not conflict with other mechanical services as the entire array is located above the hospital’s plant room. The design went through several iterations to ensure optimal renewable energy generation is achieved whilst addressing the challenge of locating many services in the same roof area. Online solar data monitoring and integration with the hospital’s building management system was also provided.

What were the client’s main motivations in having solar installed?

The client’s aim was to build a world-class public health facility and one of the essential components was environmental sustainability. The client required modules from a leading Tier 1 manufacturer, and Jinko Solar filled this role.

Were there any unique financial considerations in the decision, such as feed-in tariffs, grants, funding, subsidies, etc?

The client’s main drive was to install the largest solar system in the available roof space and maximise clean energy generation from the solar power system.

Why did the client choose your company to deliver the project?

It was discovered through a comprehensive tender process that Autonomous Energy offered the best solution whilst also remaining cost competitive. Autonomous Energy has a track record in delivering solar in large, complicated construction projects that require a high degree of project management and engineering expertise.

What’s the nature of the client’s power needs, and how did they lend themselves to a solar PV solution?

Public hospitals have quite high energy consumption compared with other commercial buildings therefore the cost and environmental benefits of onsite solar power generation were simply too significant to ignore.

How did you determine the size of the installed system?

The primary limitation was feasible roof space without significant shading from other services.

What were the unique challenges faced during the design/installation/commissioning of this project?

There are many challenges when integrating solar PV in a large, complicated construction project like this, including the need to adjust the design of the system several times due to other changes in the design and construction, optimally locating the panels to reduce the impacts of shading from other services, changes to the timing of the installation that are inevitable on a project like this though still logistically challenging, coordination with other trades, integration with BMS, fire panel and emergency isolation system.

How many tonnes per annum of greenhouse gas emissions will be saved by the installation?

The project is expected to offset about 328 tonnes of CO2 a year.


Images courtesy of Bendigo Hospital Project Gallery.