May 17, 2024

Kenyan Hospital Saves Sh7m with Solar Energy

The Makueni County Referral Hospital is adopting solar energy to reduce its electricity costs by Sh7 million annually, from the current Sh2 million monthly

Investment To be Recovered in Four Years

Transport and Energy Executive Sebastian Kyoni says the solar project will see the hospital cut its energy costs by Sh7 million per year, as the Makueni County Referral Hospital, burdened with high power bills and rampant power outages, has made a big stride towards cutting its reliance on electricity by embracing solar energy.

As part of Governor Mutula Kilonzo Junior's administration's long-term plan to stimulate sustainable economic development, the county's largest hospital is undergoing a Sh28 million solarization project, capitalizing on the region's ample sunlight to power crucial sectors like agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, and water provision.

Mr. Kyoni, accompanied by British High Commission officials, noted that the hospital currently spends approximately Sh2 million each month on electricity bills. However, upon the completion of the solar project, this cost is expected to decrease significantly by around Sh7 million per year, meaning the investment will be recovered within four years.

“The referral hospital presently pays approximately Sh2 million in monthly electricity bills. Once the solar power project is completed, the annual cost of electricity will be reduced by around Sh7 million. This means that in four years, we will have recovered the cost of establishing the solar plant,” Kyoni stated.

He added that the solar panels being installed on seven hospital roofs are projected to generate 200 kilowatts of power, sufficient to sustain all hospital operations.

Health Workers Excited With Solar Transition

In the wake of a nationwide blackout four months ago, health workers, patients, hospital administrators, and government officials were left in suspense when two diesel generators at the facility failed to start under unclear circumstances.

The planned energy transition has already stirred excitement at the hospital, historically plagued by blackouts, with health workers anticipating improved service delivery at the level five hospital. Makueni Health chief officer Stephen Ndolo emphasized that the energy transition will usher in enhanced accountability and transparency at the county's busiest hospital.

Dr. Ndolo emphasized the importance of the transition, stating that it is crucial for achieving full automation to improve service delivery, accountability, and transparency at the health facility.

He highlighted the significance of uninterrupted daytime power supply, especially during peak patient hours, to ensure smooth operation of the computer systems supporting automation. Additionally, he mentioned that the substantial savings will be allocated towards hospital renovation and hiring more health workers.

Makueni County committed to Clean Energy Transition

The Makueni County government, in collaboration with UK Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions (UK-pact), Strathmore University, and the World Resources Institute, is leading the charge for a clean energy transition.

Governor Kilonzo Junior highlighted the region's abundance of sunshine, stating plans to harness this resource for productive purposes, including powering major hospitals and water pumping. The county has adopted a clean energy plan and established a county energy center at Kisingo County Technical Training Centre to promote renewable energy use throughout the region.

Daniel Wilcox, the economic counselor at the British High Commission, noted that solar energy ensures a consistent provision of clean energy, resulting in reduced operating expenses and lower greenhouse gas emissions, thereby benefiting the environment.

“Solar energy provides a consistent supply of clean energy. This means lower operating expenses while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, which is excellent for the environment as well,”

The adoption of solar energy at Makueni County Referral Hospital signifies a substantial cost-saving measure and a move towards sustainability. With anticipated annual savings of Sh7 million and a commitment to environmental responsibility, the hospital's transition aligns with broader efforts for economic growth and renewable energy adoption in the region.

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