First solar powered hospital opened in Syria

solar powered hospital

The first solar powered hospital in Syria will help the facility reduce its reliance on diesel. Popular Mechanics photo.

Solar powered hospital can run on renewable energy for 24 hours

This week, the war-torn country of Syria will open a solar powered hospital which will have uninterrupted power. Project designers are hopeful the facility can save lives and be repeated across the country.

In the past six years as a volatile civil war raged in the Middle Eastern country, Syria’s electrical grid has been bombed, dismantled or destroyed.  Hospitals now rely on diesel generators and are at the mercy of fuel shortages.

The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM), a global coalition of international medical organizations and NGOs set out to create the country’s first solar-powered hospital, according to a report from the Thomson/Reuters foundation.

The initiative is known as “Syria Solar” and works to get hospitals less dependent on expensive and unreliable diesel.

“To have those active (hospitals) resilient and operational, it’s a matter of life (or death) for many, many people in the country,” Tarek Makdissi, project director of UOSSM told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

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The group is not releasing the name or location of the solar powered hospital for safety reasons.

UOSSM says the hospital will run on a combination of diesel generators and 480 solar panels installed near the hospital that will be linked to an energy storage system.

The hospital’s intensive care unit, operating rooms and emergency departments can be fully powered by the solar energy system for up to 24 hours.

Makdissi says the group hopes to get five other Syrian medical facilities equipped with the same system by late spring, 2018.  Funding will come from institutions, foundations, government agencies and philanthropists.

As well as benefiting the embattled country’s health care system, Makdissi says he believes the program will create a more resilient electrical infrastructure.

“To be resilient is to be independent and to be independent you need to have control of your own resources,” said Makdissi. “This project is really increasing the independence and resilience of local communities.”

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