German Solar Modules Provide Hospital in Senegal with Power SCHOTT Solar
Alzenau, Munich, Baila, Thanks to German solar modules made by SCHOTT Solar, the operators and patients in a rural hospital in Senegal will no longer have to wonder whether or not the lights will be out in the future. A new solar energy system made by SCHOTT Solar in Alzenau will make sure that they have a steady supply of power. Up until now, hospital employees were forced to deal with power outages several times a day. Refrigeration for the medication was interrupted repeatedly, lights were off and what little medical equipment was available was out of commission. Now, with the photovoltaic system from SCHOTT Solar as a backup system, there is a guarantee for a secure supply of electricity. The system will be installed in cooperation with KAÏTO Energie AG, based in Munich.
The hospital in Baila, located in the southern province of Casamance in Senegal, is made up of an emergency room, ten beds, a delivery room and accommodation for relatives. This center has provided medical attention to people in the immediate region for years. In order to protect the hospital against power outages on the regular network, a five-kilowatt solar power system is now being installed. The power from the solar modules is first loaded into batteries and if the regular power system fails, the network will revert virtually instantaneously to a so-called mini-grid, which provides the hospital with an independent source of power.
Social responsibility made concrete
Four parties have made the installation possible: in addition to the solar modules, SCHOTT Solar also supplies the system technology and supports the installation of the system. The majority of the costs have been carried by the company itself, with a portion contributed by the employees as a project for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). KAÏTO Energie AG takes responsibility for project management on location and deals with the local authorities. The village community built the extension on which the system will be installed in May.
Involving the people in the village in the technical and electrical building works contributes significantly to the acceptance of the solar energy installation. KAÏTO includes apprentices from a neighboring vocational school in the mechanical installation of the solar system to provide them with practical experience and allow them to try and test their own skills with modern technology. SCHOTT Solar is responsible for the electrical installation and the technical certification of the backup system.
Fit for the climate in Senegal
In mid-March, the modules were shipped out via Dakar to the regional harbor at Ziguinchor in Casamance and then were transported overland to Baila. In Casamance, located on the edge of the tropical rainforest, climatic conditions are extreme, with an extreme amount of rain. Following the dry season from November to June, hot monsoon winds bring the rain and high humidity from the south. That’s why the SCHOTT Solar double-glazed modules are perfect for Baila; they have proven that they hold up under such extreme weather conditions. The company regularly tests its modules under extreme temperature fluctuations, permanent humidity and high pressure and suction – and according to the information SCHOTT Solar has, the company is the only manufacturer who has criteria that are double as strict as those stipulated by the IEC 61215 standard.
Green future for the “Dark Continent”
The project in Baila shows that solar energy is the key to providing electricity in Africa. And a reliable source of power is the key to sustainable development. In rural areas in particular, the power supply is neither full-coverage nor stable – but there is a lot of sun. Ideal prerequisites for the use of photovoltaic systems, which guarantee a reliable source of electricity as an isolated system or even give first access to power in remote regions. “The SCHOTT Group sees the sustainable improvement of people’s living conditions as one of its tasks. Electricity is the prerequisite for education and development – and our projects contribute towards electrifying Africa”, commented Martin Heming, managing director of SCHOTT Solar and member of the SCHOTT Group management board. Senegal is now investing more in renewable energies, and in decentralized solar power in particular. Up until now, the programs in Senegal were primarily KfW (Reconstruction Loan Corporation) and individual World Bank projects.
Confident in Know-how of Local Experts
In the selection of the project, SCHOTT Solar followed the recommnedation of KAÏTO Energie AG. KAÏTO has years of experience in the development and implementation of economically oriented projects in Casamance. The company specializes in project development and decentralized power supply on the basis of renewable energies. Direct contacts to local decision-makers and project drivers have made a major contribution to the successful implementation of the project on site.