Rochester Regional Health has taken a significant step toward achieving its goal of sourcing all of its electricity through renewable sources by 2025. The organization is combining community solar from Nexamp with its own on-site solar, energy efficiency measures and other initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint.

The health system is expected to save more than $220,000 a year through the Nexamp community solar program. This program will support the expansion of clean energy resources at Rochester Regional Health’s facilities while also sharing the benefits with the community.

“We know that hospitals and clinics use much more energy than a typical business, and we have made a conscious decision to manage our resources carefully so that we can ensure a healthy environment and create a more sustainable community,” explained Mike Waller, director of sustainability, Rochester Regional Health. “The ability to complement our on-site solar with a community solar agreement gives us the opportunity to offset energy usage at our many sites across the region, while also providing a green energy option for our neighbors.”

Nexamp operates dozens of community solar farms across New York State, making it easy for commercial customers to meet the needs of a distributed business such as Rochester Regional Health. As an anchor offtaker, Rochester Regional Health will receive a larger portion of the credit from each project, with individual residential subscribers taking the rest.

“The community solar program in New York makes it possible to increase the generation of clean energy and share those benefits with both businesses and residents,” said David Wells, director of community solar in NY for Nexamp. “We are focused on helping all energy users achieve sustainability and cost savings in parallel. Distributed generation of clean solar energy from the sun is meeting the needs of communities and is an important step in the decarbonization of our society moving forward.”

Initially, Rochester Regional Health will receive credit for 9.7 MW from five projects located in Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E), National Grid and New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) service territories. The clean energy generated at these projects is fed directly to the local utility grid, and Rochester Regional Health receives credit for the value of that energy on its regular electric bills, helping to lower its costs while offsetting its use of electricity from traditional sources.

Three community solar farms in Spencerport will provide solar credits to Rochester General Hospital, Unity Hospital and St. Mary’s Campus. A community solar farm in Lockport will provide solar credits to United Memorial Medical Center and a community solar farm in Ghent will provide solar credits to Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic and Newark-Wayne Community Hospital.

With no up-front investment, long-term commitment or equipment to install, community solar is equally accessible to all homeowners or renters, independent of income or credit history. For businesses such as hospitals, manufacturers, retailers and others, community solar is ideal because it can be used on its own or paired with on-site solar generation to further reduce environmental impact.