Is Solar the Answer to Unpredictable Power Grids in War-Torn Countries?

War-torn Syria is turning to solar photovoltaic panels to power hospitals in the country.

The Syria Solar Initiative, a project associated with the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM), is hoping to eventually provide electricity to all medical facilities in the country through solar panels. The first hospital to benefit from this pilot project of the UOSSM was fitted with 480 solar photovoltaic panels and 288 batteries “capable of fully powering the Intensive Care Unit, operating rooms and emergency departments during diesel shortages,” according to Newsweek.

An alternative power source for Syria is necessary because six years of fighting have destroyed sections of the country’s power grid. Hospitals have largely been relying on diesel generators, which has proven less than ideal due to diesel shortages and frequent price spikes.

In terms of efficiency, UOSSM estimates the project will save the hospital 7,000 liters of diesel fuel and potentially help cut energy costs by one quarter. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to have every medical facility in Syria running on clean, sustainable energy.

Other battle-scarred and emerging countries have adopted similar energy initiatives to help power hospitals. EmpowerGAZA is aiming to raise funds to install solar panels on four major hospitals in Gaza, which will provide energy 24 hours a day to critical care areas. And the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), along with the Centers for Disease Control, is working in six developing countries to provide solar energy to health care facilities. In Haiti, for example, the USAID is working to establish clean and reliable power to 20 of the most important health facilities throughout the country.

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