Mid-September 2020, OnePower Lesotho (1PWR), a mini-grid developer working in Lesotho with the mission to bring electricity to underserved communities, was announced as one of the winners of Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative to electrify primary healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa with off-grid solar PV solutions.
SustainSolar, a Cape Town based manufacturer of containerised, rapid deployment off-grid solar systems, received the order from OnePower to deliver seven modular, high quality Sustain Compact 20ft solutions to Lesotho before the end of the year.
Founded in 2015, OnePower is a fast-growing start-up whose primary goal is to attract investment to the renewable energy sector in Lesotho to make energy access projects a reality for these communities. As a social enterprise, a major portion of OnePower’s profits are reinvested to maximise their ability to provide quality services to off-grid communities at affordable costs.
Selected as one of the grant awardees, OnePower will be supplying clean electricity to seven rural health facilities across the country, using the facilities as anchor loads for mini-grids. In addition to powering the health facilities, the mini-grids will supply electricity to a number of connections including five health centre staff houses at each site.
Packed in a 20ft container and equipped with leading high performance solar modules, Solar MD battery modules, SMA inverters and a lightweight mounting structure, the Sustain Compact solution ordered by OnePower and designed by SustainSolar has an initial PV capacity of 20 kWp and a storage capacity of 51 kWh.
With the quick installation of a modular, off-grid, solar power system, these mobile solutions are ideally suited for remote locations, rural electrification, and temporary installations. With systems deployed in remote regions of Malawi, South Sudan, Uganda and soon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, SustainSolar strives to respond to the needs of emerging markets with turnkey solar PV technology suited for various applications that require a decentralised, clean and dependable power supply.
Their containerised, pre-installed solar systems are equipped with top-quality solar PV modules and electronics and batteries and come in three standardised yet adjustable product configurations from small to large. Grants were awarded through Power Africa, a US government-led initiative that brings together 12 government agencies, development partners and private sector companies, with the goal of doubling access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.
Totalling more than $2.6 million across nine countries, these grants will be benefitting close to 300 healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa. According to Power Africa, nearly 60% of all healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity, and of those that do, only 34% of hospitals and 28% of health clinics have reliable, 24-hour access.
Energy is critical for powering essential devices, medical and sterilisation equipment, diagnostics, cold storage for vaccines and medication, information technology, and lights to enable the delivery of continuous health care services. Efficient health services and responses to diseases — including COVID-19 — depend on reliable access to electricity. “Solar energy holds great potential to expand and improve health care delivery in sub-Saharan Africa, and off-grid solar technology offers a clean, affordable, and smart solution to electrify healthcare facilities located beyond the reach of national electricity grids,” said Mark Carrato, Power Africa Acting Coordinator. “Power Africa’s experience shows that off-grid solar energy systems can be rapidly deployed to even the most rural facilities.