Build Health International

Project Introduction

Build Health International (BHI) worked closely with CURE International to develop a hybrid solar array to supplement power to the CURE’s children’s hospital in Niger and ensure they have access to clean, reliable energy. This endeavor has upgraded and expanded on the existing 500 kW system by increasing capacity by 40%. The addition of batteries and new inverters will make the hospital a completely independent micro-grid.

Build Health International

Project Information

  • Kilowatt-Hours Produced Daily
  • Timeline
    January 2018 - January 2019
  • Operational Partner
    CURE International
& Design
& Equip
& Research
Build Health International

Project Description

CURE approached Build Health International to request assistance on planning, designing, building a solar array as an alternate energy source for their children’s hospital in Niger. The energy system CURE was using for their hospital relied on a local utility company, Niger Electric, and the use of diesel generators, however, this system was rife with problems. Electricity serving the hospital was very unpredictable, especially during the hot months, when blackouts could last as long as 10 hours at a time. Additionally, cost was a major concern to CURE: the cost of utility power was $0.25 per kWh, amounting to $4470 every month. Supplemental generator use was also costly given that diesel prices were higher than $3 per gallon.

To address these issues, BHI began by performing a site evaluation at the CURE Hôpital des Enfants au Niger in early January of 2018, and achieved several important tasks. This assessment shed light on the current energy load demanded by the hospital; reviewed and mapped the electrical system to see if there were any problems with its set-up; scouted for potential sites to construct the solar panel array, inverters and battery house, as well as a future building sites; discussed the energy demands of a growing hospital; and assessed local workforce and resource capacity.

Though this initial assessment, the hospital was found to have an average daily energy load of 654.5kwH. Based on what they saw on site, the BHI team proposed an off-grid standalone generator system that will integrate diesel, photovoltaic generation, and a battery storage system. This system provides full automatic system operation, ensuring power supply stability as well as optimum generation and storage systems operation. In September of 2018, the system was installed and now provides the hospital with 557 kWh daily. As a result, the utilities price of operating the hospital has dropped from over $4500 to $1530 per month, with the added benefit of reliable energy flow reducing the odds of medical equipment malfunction. The money saved as a result of BHI’s hybrid solar array allows CURE to allocate more resources toward providing speciality surgical care for children with physical disabilities from across the region.