By San Francisco Business Times

Kaiser Permanente has launched a solar-power system at its Santa Clara Medical Center, the company announced Friday.

Oakland-based Kaiser agreed in March to install solar systems at 15 California facilities, deploying a total 15 megawatts of solar energy by the end of 2011.

The purchase agreement with the San Francisco-based solar developer Recurrent Energy provides for Recurrent to own and operate the systems, with Kaiser purchasing the power and also retaining the Renewable Energy Credits awarded for the projects.

The Santa Clara solar panels will produce 8.5 percent of the power used at the medical center, or enough to provide electricity for 136 homes for one year.

The 15 megawatts of total power represent an average of 10 percent of the electricity at each of the facilities, which also include the Vallejo Medical Center and medical offices in Lancaster and La Mesa in Southern California.

In addition to reducing pollution, the initiative will cut costs, saving Kaiser more than $10 million per year, the company said.

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