The Mwandi Hospital, located in Western Province Zambia, requires reliable electrical power for lights and equipment in order to provide adequate patient care and save lives. Droughts that impact Zambia's hydroelectric power supply cause national outages that impede healthcare in all settings. Mwandi Hospital American Partners will install solar power at Mwandi Hospital to insure patient care can be provided without interruption and to reduce dependence on the government power company, ZESCO.
In 2015, the Zambian government (GRZ) forced power outages nationwide, including 4-5 hours/day at the Mwandi hospital. Load-shedding will resume in June 2019, putting patients' lives at risk during power outages. Electricity costs and past debts to the ZESCO severely strain the hospital budget. Currently 43% of its operating grants pay for power. In late 2019, ZESCO plans a 100% increase in its costs to consumers, leaving even less funding for other patient resources in the hospital budget.
Phase 1 of the solar project began in 2018 with the installation of panels and batteries in the main hospital building (see attached photos). Today, the building uses solar energy for 8 - 16 hours/day, reducing the use of ZESCO power by 40%. Early Phase 2 of the project will add more batteries and solar panels to the main building with the goal of reducing the dependency on ZESCO by 70% more than in Phase 1. The completion of our Water Project 38994 will also reduce water pump power consumption.
Completion of Phase 2 of the solar power project (projected for 2021) will allow uninterrupted patient care in all hospital building and full use of all available equipment. Ultimately, ZESCO power will serve only as back-up to the hospital-generated solar power and excess electricity will provide budget relieving income for the hospital. The solar power project will allow the the hospital to reach Level 2 facility status, serve more patients, and expand to include specialty services.