Sun's rays help to power Hospice South Canterbury thanks to Infratec

A reduction of $4200 a year in electricity costs is anticipated by Hospice South Canterbury with the installation of solar panels on its Broadway Avenue facility.

The 16.25 kilowatt system comprising 50 photovoltaic panels has been installed over the last week and Hospice general manager Peter O’Neill is delighted with the advantages it will bring.

“This should reduce our power bill by 20 per cent a year which is significant over the lifetime of the system. The installation also gives some protection against future increases in electricity prices with the bonus of using renewable energy from the sun.

“Hospice South Canterbury is once again indebted to the community with the cost of the project being met by the generosity of four organisations.

“The St Vianneys Timaru Trust has met the cost of materials with a $27,300 grant, Alpine Energy has paid for the installation costs of $6700, Infratec has provided the design work free of charge and the scaffolding work was donated by United Scaffolding.’’

St Vianneys Timaru Trust chairman Dale Walden said that trustees viewed the work of South Canterbury Hospice in the community as being very similar to that work of the Sisters Of Compassion when the Home Of Compassion operated in Timaru.

“That ‘special’ level of care does come at a cost and the community does have a part to play in supporting with those costs. Every dollar saved in operating expenses means that another dollar can be dedicated to the care of the patients and families.

“We have all had experiences of friends and/or family being cared for in Hospice South Canterbury and the Trust that we represent sees our support as being support for the wider community as well.“

The successful tenderer for the project was Infratec, a subsidiary of Alpine Energy. Time associated with design and procurement were an in-kind contribution from Infratec.

General manager of operations George Ritchie said Infratec was pleased to have participated in a fantastic community project in what is the largest solar PV system on the Alpine Energy network.

Alpine Energy group manager, corporate services, Michael Boorer said the project was an exciting opportunity for Alpine to be involved in.

“As well as supporting a worthwhile charity as part of our commitment to the South Canterbury community, the project was also able to demonstrate the ability and innovation of our subsidiary Infratec to deliver alternative solutions for the provision of electricity to our consumers.

O’Neill said while there would be times when the solar system would produce enough electricity to sell back into the national grid that was not the primary aim.

“The main aim is to reduce our power bill. We also looked at the feasibility of incorporating batteries for storing electricity but concluded it was not viable at this time. However, as technology evolves this could be an option and the system could be changed to incorporate storage.’’

The solar panel grant continues St Vianneys support of Hospice, with $500,000 contributed when the seven-bed unit was built in 2009. The trust has also recently contributed $17,000 to buy specialty electric reclining chairs for patients.


For further information

Peter O’Neill

027 688 1000

[email protected]



Dale Walden

St Vianneys Timaru Trust


Personal email : [email protected]

Work phone : 03 684 8200 .



Michael Boorer

Group Manager - Corporate Services

 687 4300

(027) 2332251                           


e-mail: [email protected]


George Ritchie

Mobile +64 (27) 576 7681

Email: [email protected]

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