Lesotho, 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. ARE Member SustainSolar, a Cape Town based manufacturer of containerised, rapid deployment off-grid solar systems, received the order from One Power to deliver seven modular, turn-key, high quality Sustain Compact™ 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.

SustainSolar’s Sustain Compact™ product range, pre-commissioned and packaged in a 20ft container for rapid deployment and equipped with leading high performance solar panels, Solar MD lithium-ion batteries, SMA inverters and a lightweight mounting structure, is the ideal solution for OnePower’s needs. Each system has an initial PV capacity of 20 kWp and 51 kWh of storage and can be extended to more than double their initial size as electricity demand grows. With the quick installation of a modular, off-grid, solar power system, these mobile solutions are perfectly 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.

OnePower is one of nine companies that were awarded grants through Power Africa, a U.S Government-led initiative that brings together government agencies, development partners and private sector companies, with the goal of doubling access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Totalling more than $2.6m across nine countries, these grants will be benefitting close to 300 healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Power Africa, nearly 60 percent of all healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity, and of those that do, only 34 percent of hospitals and 28 percent of health clinics have reliable, 24-hour access. Energy is critical for powering essential devices, medical and sterilization 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.”