At least 9 companies specializing in the supply of off-grid solar systems have been selected by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to receive a $2.6 million grant. This funding from the Power Africa initiative will be used to electrify health centres in nine countries via off-grid solar power.
Covid-19 has revealed the shortcomings of health systems in countries around the world. One of the challenges for hospitals in Africa is access to electricity. It is to help address this problem that the Power Africa initiative is looking at health care facilities. As part of this electrification initiative launched by former U.S. President Barack Obama, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) selected nine solar off-grid providers to receive a $2.6 million grant.
Companies in nine African countries will use the funding to provide electricity to health care facilities. This is the case of OffGridBox, which has been selected to provide electricity via its containerized solution to six rural clinics in Rwanda. The company will implement a pay-as-you-go business model, selling electricity and drinking water to surrounding communities.
At least 91 electrified health centres in Ghana
Ghana is one of the largest recipients of the USAID grant. Thanks to PEG Solar, 91 health centres will be electrified throughout the country. With the funding obtained, SolarWorks! Will electrify 92 health care facilities in the Sofala province of Mozambique. “To ensure the sustainability of the systems beyond the implementation period of the grant, SolarWorks! Will cover the operation and maintenance costs of the solar energy systems for 5 years,” explains Usaid.
Nanoé will electrify 35 rural health centres in the Ambanja and Ambilobe districts of Madagascar. The company will deploy mini-grids with health facilities as anchors and connections to staff housing. In a partnership with the Church Health Association of Zambia, off-grid provider Muhanya Solar has committed to electrify seven health centres and staff housing in rural Zambia.
Improving Access to Electricity for Health Care Facilities
In Malawi, Zuwa Energy will install off-grid solar systems to provide electricity to nine clinics. OnePower has been selected to electrify seven health centres in Lesotho. KYA-Energie will electrify 20 health centres in Togo. In Nigeria, 21 rural health facilities in Oyo State will be electrified by Havenhill Synergy, a company based in Abuja.
“With these grants, USAID is investing in a series of pilot projects that demonstrate how health centre electrification can be delivered in a commercially sustainable manner with strong private sector participation,” said David Stonehill, head of Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative. The initiative is expected to increase the rate of access to electricity for health care facilities on the African continent. According to USAID, 60 per cent of clinics in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity, and of those that do, only 34 per cent of hospitals and 28 per cent of clinics have reliable 24-hour access.
Jean Marie Takouleu