Reducing reliance on the grid
A row of elecric car chargers.

Energy costs are high, especially for a large medical sites. One hospital has come up with an innovative solution. 

A solar car park (SCP) has been installed at Eastbourne District General Hospital (EDGH), with ten solar-powered EV charge points for staff use. This makes it the first hospital in the UK with a solar carpark.

It is hoped the new carpark will produce 1,000 MWh of solar-generated electricity annually, and lower CO2 emissions by 222 tonnes in the first year.

The new solar array comprises over 2,412 solar panels across eight canopies that cover 400 car parking spaces. As high energy users, the hospital will make significant savings by generating its own renewable electricity on site, while at the same time, reducing the hospital’s reliance on electricity from the national grid.  

The SCP is part of the £27m energy management contract with Veolia to upgrade Eastbourne District General Hospital, and deliver wide ranging energy upgrades and target carbon savings of 4,129 tonnes per year.

With funding provided through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme for affordable, low carbon energy efficiency upgrades across the public sector, the scheme is one of the first to take a whole building approach that accounts for how facilities and the energy delivery systems interact with each other, while maintaining an indoor environment that enhances patient care.

EV Charging

The SCP will also feature ten solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints for staff to use.

Chris Hodgson, director of estates and facilities at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “The completion of the new solar array is another significant step on our journey to net zero. 

The solar farm alongside other improvements, including new insulation and heat pumps, at Eastbourne DGH will lead to a significant reduction in the use of energy across the site which will be a key part of our work to provide sustainable healthcare.”

Solar panels offer many benefits, and can be installed on many buildings, big or small. Hospitals tend to have large sites and so are great places to install solar panels. Car parks are an obvious place to install them, as there is a lot of unused space.


Solar panels generate electricity from the sun – so the energy is essentially free. Installing your own solar panels reduces reliance on expensive energy from the grid. Over time, solar panels end up paying for themselves and represent significant savings on energy bills. This money can then be spent elsewhere, for example essential services, maintenance, and infrastructure improvements – which can then in turn lead to improved facilities and better care for the community.

Solar panels represent a long-term investment. They have a long lifespan of 25 years or more. The initial cost investment results in stable and minimal energy costs for years. The initial set up and maintenance costs are paid for in the savings made against traditional energy tariffs.

Solar panels can provide your organisation with energy independence – meaning you are not reliant on or tied to fluctuating or expensive energy tariffs. Solar panels also reduce vulnerability to fluctuations in energy supply and power cuts. With battery storage systems, solar energy can be stored and used during emergencies, ensuring critical services remain operational.

There is also the opportunity to take advantage of net metering and sell energy back to the grid and therefore even make money. There are also government incentives available that can reduce the upfront costs of solar installations. 

Net Zero

The electricity produced by solar panels is clean and renewable and does not emit greenhouse gases or pollutants. By reducing reliance on fossil fuels, buildings with solar panels contribute to lower carbon emissions and help combat climate change. This is especially important with the NHS’s net zero goals.

By reducing the demand for fossil fuels, solar panels can improve air quality and therefore improve health outcomes in the local area and further afield.

Solar panels on public buildings can also promote community engagement and pride. They demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and set an example for residents and local businesses. Installing solar panels can also improve the public image of the local health authority.

Local economy

The installation and maintenance of solar panels can create local jobs, and therefore benefit the local community economically.

Installing solar panels can have many benefits for the organisation that installs them, as well as the local community and the environment. Solar panels represent significant cost savings, as well as emission savings and can create jobs for the local area. 

Eastbourne DGH

The SCP at Eastbourne DGH has been installed by Veolia and 3ti.

John Abraham, chief operating officer - Veolia UK & Ireland -  Industrial, Water & Energy said: “Achieving the NHS net zero targets, and maintaining the essential patient care facilities, requires a holistic building approach. By using the areas above the car park, this latest project is an excellent example of how we can transform the space above ground level to deliver renewable energy.

"This further contributes to the NHS decarbonisation programme by reducing emissions, builds energy security for the hospital, and improves energy cost savings. We look forward to working with the teams at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and helping them achieve their environmental goals.”

Tim Evans, founder & CEO at 3ti added: “This project is a win-win for all parties: the SCP provides low-cost and low-carbon electricity for the hospital, car park users benefit from the cover and lighting provided by the canopies, and staff with EVs can charge their cars whilst at work. EDGH has proven how simple it can be for organisations to transform car parks into a renewable energy source and leave something better behind for future generations.”