• Eastern Africa
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Case study 2 July, 2021 Solar PV Health Micro/Mini-grid

Schneider Electric – Matongo Birthing Clinic Microgrid (Kenya)

Who, What & Where

  • Matongo Birthing Clinic Microgrid
  • United Solar Initiative, a global energy access non-profit project developer, designed and built an 8.7 kW solar + storage microgrid in Kenya at a women’s hospital with the support of healthcare NGO funding partner Curamericas Global, microgrid technology provider Schneider Electric, and Kenyan solar installer PowerPoint Systems.
  • Kisii County (Kenya)

The Company

United Solar Initiative (USI) is a non-profit organisation working to facilitate solar energy solutions that address energy and water poverty in underdeveloped communities around the world. USI partners with non-profits internationally that are addressing healthcare, clean water, or education to improve lives and support those organisations and communities they serve with access to clean and reliable electricity to support their needs.

For this project, USI partnered with Curamericas Global, an organisation that works to save the lives of women and children in forgotten communities and technology partner, Power Point for the installation of the solution at the clinic.

The Challenge

The power grid in Kenya, especially in remote rural areas is very unreliable, and this results in frequent blackouts especially in rural areas. This is exactly the situation for Matongo dispensary which loses power frequently, sometimes for multiple hours a day or days at a time. This seriously jeopardised the health of patients and the security of the staff and appeared to be one of the major reasons for the under-use of the clinic by its catchment communities.

With no permanent fix in the foreseeable future, there was a need for a constant source of power. By implementing a more reliable power source, the facility is now able to attract more health facility deliveries and therefore reduce the probability of home deliveries by expectant mothers. At the same time, the facility is able to run smoothly for 24 hours/day without any interference.

Renewable Solution

The project deploys a the 8.7 kW solar and storage microgrid solution by Schneider Electric. The microgrid provides backup power to critical loads at the birthing centre.

Project Financing and Costs

United Solar Initiative with the support from Curamericas Global.

Project Outcome

Since going online in August 2020, the facility has saved substantial amounts of money each month in their energy costs from the utility company which allows for more hospital supplies to be purchased. Most importantly though, the facility has seen a drastic increase in the number of births that the doctors at the Matongo Clinic are now supporting. Previously, one in three women preferred to give birth at home in less sanitary conditions rather than risk being turned away because of a power outage.

Mothers now have a location they can count on with access to clean and reliable electricity. Today, 95% of deliveries take place at the health facility with a skilled birth attendant.

Next Steps

Using the same model, the partners will provide clean and reliable energy for two more clinics in Kisii County.