The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) plans to install solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems at five VA hospitals by next summer. The $56.7...

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) plans to install solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems at five VA hospitals by next summer.

The $56.7 million program is part of the agency’s ongoing energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts.

“The benefits of using solar power are profound, from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to improving the quality of the air we breathe,” said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. “This initiative is good for veterans and good for our environment.”

The VA plans to install PV systems at its hospitals in Oklahoma City; Temple, Texas; Amarillo, Texas; Loma Linda, California; and West Los Angeles. Officials selected the sites based on feasibility studies that determined the most ideal locations to invest in on-site renewable energy projects.

The department aims to increase its renewable energy consumption to 15 percent of annual electricity usage by 2013. The agency is also rolling out 35 additional PV systems at medical centers and national cemeteries across the US, and has invested more than $300 million in renewable energy projects since 2009.

Among the other sustainability-boosting improvements the VA has rolled out so far are solar-powered charging stations for electric cars at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center in West Virginia, a self-contained E-85 ethanol fueling station at the Martinez Outpatient Clinic and Community Living Center in California, a wind turbine at the Massachusetts National Cemetery and a wind turbine at its St. Cloud VA Medical Center in Minnesota.

Solar PV installations are slated for Oklahoma City; Temple, Texas; Amarillo, Texas; Loma Linda, Calif. and West Los Angeles.

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