Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System
Biloxi VA Boasts New Solar Parking Canopy
BILOXI, Miss. – The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System’s (GCVHCS) Biloxi Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center opened a solar-powered parking canopy in July after a nearly three-month installation.
The project, consisting of three solar photovoltaic arrays situated on the newly constructed canopy, the roof of the electric service vehicle charging station and on the roof of the organization’s Blind Rehabilitation Clinic, is designed to augment the Biloxi VA Medical Center’s electrical system, potentially reducing power usage from Mississippi Power.
GCVHCS Engineering Service Chief Jay Tripp said the canopy and solar array project, a contracted effort with Hannah Solar Government Services, is designed to provide shaded parking for Biloxi VA Medical Center employees, Veterans and guests, as well as produce clean energy.
“We’re committed to our mission of serving our Veterans and using energy more efficiently will safeguard the health and safety of those here, minimize our environmental footprint and assist in protecting our natural resources,” he said. “These solar arrays can represent a significant cost savings for the GCVHCS and are at the forefront of the VA’s Environmental Sustainability policy.”
Tripp added that the solar array’s voltage output will be metered, providing an estimated 450 kilowatts per hour (kWh), the majority of which will be generated by the parking lot canopy. The kWH is the universal measurement of power consumption and can be used to estimate how much electricity is used; an electric water heater averages 380 through 500 kWh monthly, while a standard refrigerator uses an estimated 54 kWh each month. The Biloxi VA Medical Center’s solar arrays can generate an estimated 450 kWh, potentially generating more than 320,000 kWh each month.
Bryan C. Matthews, the GCVHCS director, said efforts such as this represent the continued commitment to not only the Veterans and staff at the Biloxi VA Medical Center, but the organization’s obligation to ensure it operates in an environmentally responsible manner.
“These new solar arrays are part of a larger GCVHCS initiative to maintain quality of care for our Veterans through environmental stewardship and using available resources,” he said. “We’re using every effort to make sure our Veterans receive the care they deserve, and incentives such as this increase our potential through cost-savings to continue investing in their care.”
The Biloxi Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, along with the Mobile, Pensacola, Eglin and Panama City VA Clinics are all part of the GCVHCS, which is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, and provides a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 70,000 Veterans.