Thomasville Pediatrics to use solar power

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Thomasville Pediatrics, a longtime medical practice in Davidson County, is now leading the community in renewable energy.

On Sept. 24, workers from Renewable Energy Design Group, installed multiple solar panels onto the roof of the Thomasville Pediatrics building on Arthur Drive.

Jeff Redwine, CEO of the group, said that with the addition of solar power, Thomasville Pediatrics will lower its electric rates. It will also take advantage of a 30 percent tax credit from the federal government.

In addition, there will be a battery bank that will keep refrigerated vaccines and medicines up and running in the event of an outage. Redwine said this is the group’s first commercial project in Davidson County.

Although the use of solar power is growing, Redwine said the reason some are hesitant is due to a lack of information.

“There are more and more solar companies popping up,” Redwine said. “Some of which are doing a great job, others which are not. So unfortunately there is a considerable amount of misinformation being given by either malicious other unqualified people. I think that can be a deterrent. It’s an investment. So it takes capital to make an investment. You’re going to see a 10 to 12 percent return on your money on the residential side and even more on the commercial side. If you think of it as putting your money in a fund, and seeing those returns, that’s about the return you’d get on it. It takes money to make money.”

According to Dr. Donald Winters, who works at the office, there is a movement across the country toward renewable energy resources. He and Dr. Karrie Stansfield both use solar energy at their homes and have witnessed significant cost savings in their power bill.

“So from a green perspective, in terms of not just helping our country, but our world have renewable energy, we both made that step at our homes,” Winters said. “And both of our power bills are literally the interconnect fee with Duke Power every month. So there’s a cost savings involved in and of itself.”

The doctor said Thomasville Pediatric’s solar energy will replace 90 percent of the power required for the building. There is also an app that allows users to monitor the amount of solar production in real time.

He added that North Carolina has roughly five hours of usable solar energy that impacts the solar panels. From an environmental perspective, Winters said the sun is producing energy every minute of the day.

“The better clearance you have facing south to get the rise of the sun immediately and the direct sun input, the better those solar panels work,” Winters said. ” … A physician’s office is a high energy used source. We have to have reasonable temperatures in the building for the patients and we have a high energy use for our vaccine storage and high traffic through our office. We felt that this made a good fit.”

The doctor’s office has already taken steps to become more environmentally friendly in the office. They’ve removed all disposable styrofoam cups and straws. Instead they use biodegradable products.

Winters noted that in California, newly constructed homes will require solar energy by 2020, but locally, solar power isn’t used as often.

He said the move to use solar panels is not only for Thomasville Pediatrics to play a role in making a difference in the world, but also to show how local companies can benefit from its example.

According to Winters, there is a big opportunity for people to reduce their footprint in the world and preserve it.

“Our practice has been in Thomasville for 50 years,” Winters said. “We’re proud to have been community leaders in pediatric care here, and I think this helps show that we are leading by example through not just our pediatric care but through out green care and our planet and trying to lead by example for our local community. … But the reality is, every small step that we take as an individual makes a difference for the world and one footstep maybe doesn’t make a difference, but a million footsteps in the right direction will help to preserve our planet.”

Credit: Ben Coley, The Dispatch