At a ceremony held today at Ola During Children’s and Princess Christian Maternity Hospital, Dr. Austin Demby, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Health and Sanitation, unveiled a new project that will electrify six hospitals with decentralized solar photovoltaic (PV) systems with batteries.
These renewable energy systems will provide the hospitals with a reliable and less-polluting alternative to their current systems, helping improve the quality of healthcare delivery to patients. Currently, the hospitals rely on either polluting diesel generators or the main electricity grid, making them prone to power cuts that put patients’ lives at risk.
Located in Freetown, Kambia, Masanga, Kabala and Bonthe, the hospitals will receive a combined total of more than 0.6 megawatt-peak (MWp) of installed solar PV capacity with battery storage. They were selected following detailed energy audits at major hospitals in the country done earlier this year.
Installation of the power solutions is scheduled for July-August 2023. The project is being implemented by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) in partnership with the Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health & Sanitation, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Crown Agents and EM-ONE Energy Solutions.
Dr. Austin Demby, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Health and Sanitation, said “The Government of Sierra Leone has recognized that reliable, sufficient electricity is a critical input to healthcare services. This project shows our commitment to ensuring hospitals are better equipped to keep people safe and healthy by harnessing the power of renewable energy.”
He added “…We have a situation here where there are three levels of Energy solutions, so we have the main grid where government is doing its best but we are not there yet, it’s a process, so we have occasional blackouts and power failures. we also have thermal energy back up systems, but sucks fuel like water, not to mention the pollution that’s associated with that. So these are solutions that are; maybe or maybe not. But the babies don’t wait for maybe, maybe not. So it’s quite pleasing at this point to come up with a third energy Solution, which is Solar energy which allows you to have energy 24/7, when you want it, how you want it, where you want it”
As an added benefit, the project was also designed to enhance employment and career opportunities for women in the local renewable energy sector. Twelve young women have already begun a specialized training programme that provides them with practical experience and classroom training on solar PV project implementation, including participating in the installation process at the hospitals.
“By showcasing how hospitals can be equipped with renewable and reliable energy solutions in an accelerated time frame, we hope to provide a model that can be used to electrify thousands of other health facilities across Sierra Leone and beyond,” Madhu, SEforAll
He added “…This project started with the development of a roadmap for empowering social infrastructure in Sierra Leone which includes the education and health sectors, and through that assessment we allocated six hospitals; Ola During, PCMH, Masanga Hospital, Kambia Government hospital, Kabala government hospital and Bonth government hospital. The initial roadmap was funded by FCDO and GEAPP, and now the implementation of the solarization of the six hospitals, the project is funded by FCDO and implementing by SEforAll”
Esther A. Williams, Crown Agents said
“I am immensely proud to be part of this project which is going to electrify six main hospitals in this country, we are all aware about the effect of electricity when it comes to healthcare, I am really proud to be part of this team and representing Crown Agents, which is a non-profit international development company and social enterprise that works in partnership with Government, agencies, private institutions. Today , in this project, representing SEforAll as Managers of this project, our role is to ensure that this project is implemented at utmost quality and on time“
Learn more about the project here.
About Sustainable Energy for All
Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) is an international organization that works in partnership with the United Nations and leaders in government, the private sector, financial institutions, civil society, and philanthropies to drive faster action towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7)—access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030—in line with the Paris Agreement on climate. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.