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Design and Installation

Proper system design and installation are the first steps required for sustainable on-site health facility energy systems. Off-grid energy system design is quite complex and should typically be done by a trained professional. This page does not attempt to teach the user how to do a design and installation, but rather covers some general principles and lessons learned.

Batteries and Battery Management

Batteries are a critical component in nearly all energy systems involving an intermittent power source, including diesel generation, solar PV systems, wind, or intermittent grid; but have proven to be one of the most challenging components of an energy system to maintain.

The quality of grid power in Haiti is ranks among the worst in the world. Many health facilities receive only a few hours of power per day, with prolonged outages of up to a month not uncommon in some locations. The lack of reliable electricity in health facilities across the country complicates the storage of cold chain dependent blood, laboratory reagents and HIV rapid test kits. Power anomalies cause damage to laboratory equipment and jeopardize the accuracy of sensitive laboratory tests. In addition, a significant portion of many health facilities operating budget was used for the purchase of diesel fuel to power generators during frequent power outages. Reducing this expense would allow these facilities to use these funds for other priority needs.

Guyana: Mahdia District Hospital

Mahdia district hospital in Guyana serves a resident population of 1000 which swells to 4000 with the addition of workers from local mining operations. It is a priority area for the PEPFAR program based on the high-risk behavior of the mining community. Mahdia can be reached by a six hour drive from the capital Georgetown on dirt roads. The Regional Health Officer (RHO) in Mahdia identified power as his number one challenge. Mahdia district hospital is thought to be representative of district hospitals in Region I, IX, and VII of Guyana which are connected to quasi-grids but provide intermittent and low quality power.

A hypothetical clinic in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana currently has a small refrigerator, lights, hematology mixer, microscope, computer, and communications equipment. It is determined that the average daily load of the clinic is 13 kWh per day with additional load of 2 kWh per day expected in the near future. The clinic is not connected to the grid and currently utilizes a diesel generator to partially meet its energy needs. An international donor agency has been working with this clinic to improve local health care service delivery and would like to explore different options for upgrading its power generation systems.