Schneider Electric in partnership with PowerPoint Systems have installed an 8.7KW solar and storage microgrid at the Matongo Maternity Hospital in Kisii, in a bid to ensure 24-hour service from the maternity facility.
This project was supported by the global nonprofit solar developer United Solar Initiative and Curamericas Global, who is a long-term nonprofit healthcare partner of the Kisii County Ministry of Health, to ensure that the facility has access to a sustainable and reliable source of power throughout.
The system provides backup power to critical loads at the maternity center which incurs constant power outages.
Since going online in August of 2020, the facility has seen increased deliveries, from around five deliveries per month to an average of 20 deliveries per month, 60 percent of which occur at night.
“From powering the most important devices during childbirth to providing cost savings for the Matongo Clinic, there are so many benefits that clean and renewable energy brings to communities,” said Samantha Childress, a member of United Solar Initiative’s Board of Directors.
Kisii region’s maternal and child health indicators are below Kenya’s national average, with one in three women giving birth at home and in less sanitary conditions. Curamericas Global and the Kisii Department of Health began project KIKOP with the aim of improving access to safe, sanitary maternity facilities in the region and one of the actions they took was to ensure reliable access to energy for healthcare facilities, which had to deal with irregular power supplies.
“Prior to this installation, we many mothers giving birth in the dark due to the unreliability of the main power from the Grid. Since the installation of the System in August 2020, we’ve had a surge in deliveries with the facility recording over 20 deliveries per month, an increase of 400 percent recorded in prior months,” said Andrew Herrera, Executive Director, Curamericas Global.
The solar microgrid and power backup systems provide an alternative energy source for the facility’s maternity area, its vaccine refrigerators, and lighting using lead-acid batteries as a storage device.
The batteries are charged during the day by the power generated from the solar panels, supplying the hospital with electricity at night. This solution guarantees power for the facility, 24 hours a day regardless of local power outages
“Solar power solutions can also address both power and water shortages, particularly in rural communities, supporting long-term development and growth. We’re proud to be able to play a role in this project which will literally save lives and transform the health of so many Kenyan women and children,” said Carol Koech, Country President, Schneider Electric Kenya.
Other microgrid projects are planned for healthcare facilities in Kisii, ensuring that the region’s women will now have access to these essential services.