Sustainable Solar Power for Haitian Hospital
"Under the Sun" Solar Blog | March 2, 2021 | Posted by Jill McLaughlin
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ReVision Energy is partnering with Konbit Sante, a Maine-based non-profit, to help bring solar to a Haitian hospital. Konbit Sante has been partnering with Haitian healthcare facilities and communities in Northern Haiti for the past 20 years, supporting and strengthening their capacity to provide good quality health care to the Haitian community.
Haiti has an unreliable, fossil-fuelled public electric grid, leaving poorly-funded hospitals and health centers dependent on expensive diesel generators to meet their energy needs because they do not have the upfront capital to invest in solar power. Konbit Sante has installed a solar system at one of the new community health centers, and are currently implementing a USAID-funded project to provide solar+battery storage for the pediatric service at the large public reference hospital, Hôpital Convention Baptiste d’Haïti (HCBH). This is Konbit Sante’s most ambitious project to date.
“In Haiti, where most people do not have reliable access to electricity, solar power can make a huge difference. We are excited to partner with ReVision Energy to raise funds for this project. Using renewable energy as a development tool will not only increase electricity access for our partner hospitals, it will also improve the quality of care delivered to patients,” said Executive Director Rupal Shah.
HCBH, a 100-bed facility, is one of the leading maternity and neonatal facility in northern Haiti, providing life-saving neonatal care for over 600 babies a year, as well as over 1500 deliveries annually. The hospital grew exponentially following the 2010 earthquake, when it responded to the nation’s need by opening Haiti’s first Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Unit, caring for people with complete or partial paralysis.
Unfortunately, the hospital’s unreliable electrical system has not been able to meet the hospital’s power needs, posing a threat to the life-saving work of HCBH as they frequently experience black outs, electrical fires, and damage to medical equipment. Ongoing national fuel shortages and high fuel costs frustrate HCBH’s efforts to become self-sustainable.
Konbit Sante is joining with the non-profit Hope Health Action to help HCBH become totally off-grid and off fossil-fuel dependency, with the installation of a 350kWh lithium iron phosphate battery system and solar array expansion. This would hugely improve patient care by creating a stable, reliable source of power to allow vital equipment like incubators and oxygen concentrators to run uninterrupted. It would also significantly improve the hospital’s climate footprint by reducing pollution currently caused by generator usage, and get them closer to financial self-sustainability.
“Infants and young children are needlessly suffering, and sometimes dying, because critical life-support equipment is suddenly shutting down when the unreliable utility grid goes down. This problem can be solved with solar + battery storage,” said ReVision co-founder Phil Coupe, “so we are supporting our friends and fellow Mainers at Konbit Sante because we know they have a 20-year track record of success in Haiti, and because it’s the right thing to do.
This work perfectly aligns with our B Corp business philosophy, and with our mission to create the better future we know is possible. We hope you will consider joining us in the effort by contributing to the project.”