Tapping into solar energy to power emergency response – Doctors Without Borders (MSF-USA)

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Finding a solution

In their quest to find a way to rapidly deploy energy in emergency settings, MSF logisticians have been trialing an innovative potential solution in the form of a container with extendable solar panels. These solar panels have a surface area of 150m² and can produce up to 60 kWh—enough electricity, in theory, to run an entire health center or vaccination facility. Tents can be set up underneath the solar panels, so that the structure functions as a portable health center.

You don’t need to be an electrician to install this all-in-one setup, which eliminates another potential obstacle as it can be difficult to reach professionals in in remote locations.  

The container is currently being tested in Ourang, eastern Chad, where MSF teams are providing health care to 50,000 refugees who fled violence in neighboring Sudan over the past 10 months. Alongside a traditional generator, the container provides the energy needed to run various medical activities in Ourang. So far, it has considerably reduced the fuel consumption of the traditional generator.

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