The Republic of Congo has begun the installation of live-saving solar in hospitals.
The 100 solar panels and seven batteries are capable of accumulating the necessary energy to run the facilities for two full days
In remote parts of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where patients often have to walk long distances to get to a hospital, many health centers struggle with a lack of access to electricity.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams have been coping with this logistical challenge for decades. They usually rely on diesel generators.
But, in DRC´s South Kivu province, MSF teams have found a cheaper, more effective, and sustainable solution through solar power.
Reports say in Kigulube, South Kivu, people get around by motorcycle when they can.
“Kigulube hospital is in the heart of a jungle, surrounded by bad roads and paths full of stones,” says Miguel Balbastre, an energy specialist with MSF.
He added that People had a hard time getting to any health care post. And in a case of emergencies, it can be very difficult for them to reach the nearest city with a fully equipped hospital.
“The key areas for saving lives in a hospital are the operating room and the intensive care unit. And these require a continuous and reliable power supply,” says MSF’s medical coordinator in DRC, Chiara Domenichini.
Although generators are the most common option when it comes to providing electrical energy in remote areas, they pose a lot of challenges. First, it is difficulty transport fuel to places that are not always accessible by Land Cruisers or trucks.
Apart from that, transporting diesel by motorcycle or by air is extremely costly and has many logistical difficulties.
“We are using the latest generation lithium batteries that have not even been commercialized on a large scale,” says Balbastre, who is part of the team providing Kigulube hospital with solar power.
The installation at each of the two hospitals consists of 100 solar panels and seven batteries capable of accumulating the necessary energy to run the facilities for two full days.
Each of these storage units has a lifespan of at least five years, although it may be two or three times longer.
This type of assembly also includes a unit capable of controlling both the charge and the release of energy from each of the batteries, which greatly extends their lifespan. In addition, this control unit is able to detect anomalies and can be operated remotely with an internet connection, so technicians can monitor the system from anywhere in the world. Everything is designed to guarantee a continuous and autonomous energy supply, but in the unlikely event of failure, there is a back-up diesel generator ready to take over and maintain the hospital’s power supply at all times.