Solar Panels Help Save Lives in DRC

It’s been quite an adventure to bring advanced solar technology to power two hospitals in remote parts of South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. But it’s well worth it. This will "change health care for many of our patients,” says Dr. Pacifique Kapimbu, director of Kigulube general hospital, supported by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). “Before, we even used to operate in the dark.” Having a reliable source of energy in the middle of the jungle means tens of thousands of people can now get the lifesaving care they need. In an emergency room, saving lives often depends on having a steady power supply.

Although solar energy has been around for decades, earlier systems were impractical for powering remote facilities in rough terrain. The new installations at the hospitals each consists of 100 solar panels and seven batteries capable of storing enough energy to run the facilities for two full days. The panels traveled by boat, truck, and helicopter across several countries before being hand carried by porters up into the kills of South Kivu.