FOCOS Hospital commissions largest Off-Grid Solar Powered Hospital in Africa
FOCOS Orthopedic Hospital, in a bid to reduce its cost of energy while thinking about the environment at the same time, has installed a 700KWp/1MWH solar plant valued at US$1.5million that allows it to go completely off-grid, and then use their existing generators or the national grid as backup power systems.
Engineered and installed by SunPower Innovations - a leading local solar engineering, procurement and construction company - the installation comes with more than 2,400 solar panels and a 1MWH lithium-ion phosphate battery capacity system, which is the largest hospital solar installation in Africa and, arguably, the world.
The installation allows the panels to generate enough power within the day that feeds into the load directly. When there’s no sunshine at night, the battery-bank supplies power back to the load. SunPower Innovations also introduced a Seamless Transfer Switch (STS), which is able to switch between solar panels, batteries, generators and the national grid and diesel-powered generator seamlessly without the hospital experiencing power outages.
Prof. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Founder & President of FOCOS Hospital, who is very excited about the project, pointed out that the installation allows the non-profit hospital to reduce its cost of electricity and at the same time become an environmentally-friendly institution.
“With the changes in the climate, it is time we consider other sources of power which protect the environment, and solar is the way to go. Looking at how much we will be saving financially, as a non-profit hospital we couldn’t have asked for a better option,” he said.
Prof. Boachie-Adjei added that in the long-term, what this means is the hospital can offer more services to more patients. “Our mission is to provide comprehensive, affordable orthopaedic care to those who would not otherwise have access to such treatment. The cases we treat are among some of the most severe in the world—many that no other team of surgeons would dare touch,” he added.
Ernest Amissah, CEO of SunPower Innovations, added that this is the first time an off-grid project of such capacity is going to be back up for an entire hospital in Africa and possibly the world. He explained that with over 2,400 solar panels, the FOCOS installation is bigger than that of a Haitian hospital, which has 1,800 solar panels.
“This is big and the impact is massive. We are saving the hospital over 60 percent of their current bills. On average, the hospital’s demand stands at 330kva; but what we have installed is about double what it consumes. We are going off-grid because grid reliance is dwindling globally as more developments are focusing on green renewable generation."
With the installation of a seamless transfer switch (STS), Mr Amissah explained that the hospital will not experience any blackouts because the transfer of power from the solar and batteries to the generator, and even the national grid, is automatic and seamless.
“We at SunPower Innovations provide reliable and affordable off-grid, on-grid and hybrid-solar systems for homes, businesses and government agencies. With this installation, FOCOS is now off-grid and is saving a lot of money; and for what they do, depending on donor funds for their work, the more the savings the better they can transfer to patients. The savings they are making can perform surgeries for kids and families that cannot pay for that surgery,” he added.
The Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS) is a non-profit organisation that provides optimum orthopaedic care and improves the quality of life in Ghana and other countries. The hospital staff, Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC), and benevolence of the Hailie family from the US all contributed in realising the project.