Govt mulls solar systems for public health facilities

Government will soon start installing solar systems in all its urban and rural hospitals and clinics to mitigate challenges of power cuts and high costs involved in running generators, Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi has said.

Most health centres rely on generators for power, which is not sustainable owing to high costs of fuel and uncertainty over the availability of power supplies to run their big machines.

The solar project will enable public health facilities nationwide to offer improved round-the-clock service to patients aided by a reliable source of clean energy.

Speaking at Chitungwiza Central Hospital on Tuesday, Minister Chasi said most generators given to medical centres, especially in rural areas, were no longer functional, while the few that were still functional were not being used due to the unavailability of fuel.

“The ministry intends to start installing solar systems which falls under a low-cost project at all state-medical centres in rural and urban areas to generate power.

“Considering that we have an abundance of sunshine in the country, I think this is something that we are willing to look at and find ways of financing installations at all our clinics and hospitals,” he said.

He said globally, solar power has becoming more competitive with other conventional sources of power.

“As you can see solar installations are now everywhere, at residential, commercial and industrial establishments. Establishments like hospitals and other medical institutions have a high demand for power and as such installing solar panels is the way to go for such organisations.

“The healthcare industry has a high requirement of power for running sophisticated machinery and equipment. Many of the medical machinery such as ventilators, MRI machines, and CT scanners hence solar system is vital in health centres,” said Minister Chasi.

Minister Chasi said using solar was sustainable for the country.

“Once the solar system is operational, it will be run for at least 25 years and will go a long way in reducing the power bill in hospitals.

“Another advantage of a solar system is that it demands very little or no maintenance.”

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