Local Healthcare Facility Harnesses the Power of Sunshine

We’ve all heard that sunshine is good for your health. Now a local healthcare provider is demonstrating that it it’s good for business, too.

Northwest Rehabilitation Associates has just completed the installation of a photovoltaic (PV) solar electric system on the roof of its Neurology and Healthy Aging facility, located at 3270 Liberty Road South in Salem. The system features 54 SolarWorld 290-watt PV modules, and will generate about 35% of the electricity used by the facility.

“When we built our new facility in 2014, we included a PV system from the start,” said NWRA president Mike Studer. “We then decided to add solar to this existing facility, which we built in 2009, for the same reasons. The energy conservation is good for our company, but the biggest benefit is to our community in the long run.”

NWRA’s new PV system is projected to produce more than 17,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, and will reduce the company’s CO2 impact by about 7.6 tons annually. Of course, the system only runs when the sun is shining, so the majority of that power will be produced in the summer. If the system generates more electricity than the facility is using at the moment, the power is fed back into the electric grid, and NWRA will be credited for the power it produces- a feature called “net metering.”

“Solar power makes great sense for many businesses,” said Mark Farrell of Neil Kelly, the company that designed and installed the system. “Energy Trust and Federal tax incentives make the initial investment affordable, and energy savings and depreciation make an immediate bottom line impact. Many of these systems pay for themselves in about 6 years, and provide a long-term hedge against higher energy prices.” Studer agrees. “A lot of people ask me, "How soon will you be able to pay that off?", to which I reply, "Hopefully before I retire." As far as I’m concerned, the environmental and community benefits of creating energy through solar power, rather than finding another non-renewable or environmentally compromising source - pays for it already.”

Northwest Rehabilitation Associates provides physical, occupational and speech therapy services to residents of Salem and the central Willamette Valley. The group offers a range of wellness, rehabilitative and personal training services at its two facilities in south Salem, including Healthy Aging, Wellness, Neurology, Chronic Pain, Sports Therapy, and Personal Training programs. Their 24 practitioners and staff are dedicated to the motto, “Specialist care with a personal touch.”