Apply to Join
Mar 9, 2020

Solar Project Continues to Yield Good Results

Previously, we reported that the power generated by Mwandi hospital’s pilot solar project was supplying 56% of the electicity used in the main hospital building. This building is the only area within the hospital facility currently connected to the solar system. Three months later, we can report that a daily average of 68% of the main hospital building’s electricity comes from solar power (either directly from the solar panels or from the solar batteries). We are delighted with this news and feel that the expansion of solar power to all areas of the hospital is justified.

Additionally, investment in solar power for the hospital is now a critical need because of increases in the costs of the electricity produced by the Zambia Electricity Supply Company (ZESCO). In December as a result of drought conditions in Zambia, ZESCO increased tariffs on the power it produces by an average of 100% across the country. The increase in ZESCO tariffs were reflected in the hospital’s January 2020 ZESCO bill, which increased by 80% compared to the December bill. As a result of the very large increase in ZESCO tariffs, the cost-savings that the hospital gains from the pilot solar project is significantly diminished.

For all of the reasons outline above, it is imperative for the American Partners to accelerate Phase II of the solar project. We hope that all of our wonderful donors will continue to help us expand the solar capabilities of the Mwandi hospital. With your help we can decrease our dependence on ZESCO by generating more of our own dependable and cost-effective electricity. Meeting this goal will insure that the Mwandi hospital's patients will have access to reliable, quality healthcare delivery.

We appreciate all you have done for the Mwandi hospital and hope that you will join with us as we strive to meet the current challenges facing the hospital.

Mar 2, 2020

Recent Progress on the Clean Water Project

Scaffolding for water tanks
Scaffolding for water tanks

Since our last report, progress on the water project slowed because of delays in shipping of materials for the next steps of construction. We are happy to report that most of the materials needed to finish the project have now arrived in Mwandi or will be arriving shortly according to the suppliers. 

Using materials received recently, construction of scaffolding for smaller tanks for staff residences began (see lead picture). Additionally, the foundations for the shelters that will house the filter system and pump sets have been completed (see picture below). Our project manager states that when the remaining materials arrive in Mwandi, the scaffolding for the main tanks will be erected, under the supervision of construction experts, and the tanks will be lifted to the top of the scaffolding with a crane. Once the tanks are in place and the UV filtering system and pump sets are installed in the shelters, the entire system will be connected to the underground reticulation system and the water will flow to the hospital! We are hopeful that this will occur very soon after the final materials arrive in Mwandi.

As always, we are most grateful for the generosity of our donors. We hope that our next report we will be able to announce that the new water system is fully functional and meeting all expectations for providing clean water to the Mwandi hospital. We are almost there!!!

Foundation for shelter for pump and filter system
Foundation for shelter for pump and filter system
Pump set
Pump set
Dec 9, 2019

Solar Project Update

Phase I solar panels on hospital roof
Phase I solar panels on hospital roof

In our original description of Solar Project Saves Lives, we discussed factors that make the solar power project at the Mwandi hospital especially crucial for the health of its patients. Two very important factors are the:

  1. Recurring drought conditions that limit the production of hydroelectric power and force power outages (load-shedding) by the national power company, ZESCO (Zambia Electricity Supply Company), and
  2. Rising costs of the power produced by ZESCO.

The 2019 drought in Zambia is the worst in 40 years. As a result, ZESCO is imposing mandatory power outages (up to 18 hours per day) in many areas of the country and is increasing its tariffs on electricity by 75-100%. Given recent history, Zambia's current environmental crisis will probably not be its last. For these reasons, the use of alternative sources of power is imperative, especially for healthcare institutions. During recent load-shedding, some hospitals have been limited to four hours of power each day. Thankfully, Phase I of the Mwandi hospital’s solar project was completed in 2018 and the main hospital building now gets 56% of its power from the installed solar panels. [The first graph illustrates one day's consumption of power from each of three sources - solar panels, solar batteries, and ZESCO. The second graphic is a snapshot of power generated by solar panels at 11 in the morning.] Because of the supplemental solar power, general care of ward patients has not been severely affected by ZESCO outages. The success of Phase I demonstrates that solar power is a reliable alternative to hydroelectric power in Western Zambia. The hospital will now proceed with Phase II of the solar project so that patient care in all areas of the hospital will benefit. 

The first step in Phase II will begin in 2020. This step will add a second identical system to the Phase I system now supplying the main hospital building. [See the attached pictures of the Phase I solar panels and batteries that will be duplicated.] By adding a duplicate system, the generated solar power will be doubled. With both the original and duplicate systems supplying solar power, 100% of the electricity needs of the main hospital building will be met. 

Thereafter, a stepwise progression of the project will continue until solar power is supplied to the entire hospital compound. The solar engineers also predict that the completed solar project will produce more electricity than will be needed for hospital functions. The hospital will be able to sell the excess power to ZESCO and use the income to purchase drugs and other consumables that are now in short supply. 

With your support, solar power will continue to improve patient care in Mwandi, Zambia in many foreseen and unforeseen ways. We thank you for your generous contributions!

Another view of solar panels
Another view of solar panels
Solar batteries
Solar batteries
Yellow = solar, blue = batteries, red = Zesco
Yellow = solar, blue = batteries, red = Zesco
Another day's snapshot of solar power use at 11hrs
Another day's snapshot of solar power use at 11hrs
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.