Castlemaine’s largest General Practice, The Lyttleton Street Medical Clinic, took the decision around two years ago to install a solar power system combined with battery storage through the MASH community solar bulk-buy. With a total system cost of around $50,000, why did the Clinic choose to invest so much in solar and storage?
The main power issue facing the Lyttleton Street Medical Clinic was power outages – blackouts lasting several hours and also brownouts when the power supply either reduces or goes off for a shorter period of time. According to Practice Manager Sue McDonald, “In previous summers, the Clinic has experienced around 3-4 blackouts lasting several hours. Brownouts would occur more frequently.”
Like many organisations, the Clinic relies heavily on IT. Sue McDonald said, “We need to be able to run computers when the power is out, otherwise our doctors are literally in the dark. This is because the medical records are stored on the computers – doctors need to access these in order to know each patient’s medical history, medications and so forth.”
Safe storage of vaccines is also critical for the Clinic. “We have two fridges which store thousands of dollars worth of vaccines,” said Sue. “Vaccines need to stay at certain temperature before they spoil – and on hot days, if the power goes out, they spoil even more quickly. We knew that we had to do something to protect the Clinic’s investment in vaccines and to ensure that patients can get the vaccines they need at all times.”
The phones are the third business-critical system for the Clinic. Sue said, “If the phones go down due to a power outage and there’s an emergency, then people don’t know what to do. That’s because many people call us first in cases of emergency asking for advice before calling the ambulance.”
The solution installed at the Clinic was facilitated by the Castlemaine-based community solar bulk-buy, known as MASH – the campaign for More Australian Solar Homes. The Clinic invested in a state-of-the-art solar and battery storage system using BYD batteries, a Selectronic battery inverter and a Fronius inverter for the solar power system. This combined system provides complete protection in the event of power outages – whether they last minutes, hours or even a day or more.
“We now have the power back-up we need,” said Sue McDonald. “The system is working well and it means that we have the surety of power supply that we need to run our essential services. Ultimately, this means we can provide our patients with the medical care that they need, regardless of whether or not the grid goes down.”
To learn more about MASH and request a quote, visit mash.org.au or call 1300 466 274.