Solar Energy Powers Fifteen Medical Facilities in Northern Syria
Aleppo countryside – Medical and health facilities in northern Syria are preparing to activate solar panel technology and use it for lighting. It is set to be an alternative energy source to generators and other sources which are costly and have a negative environmental impact.
Since December 12, 2018, the organization Violet has overseen a project to bring lighting to 15 medical and medical facilities in northern Syria using solar energy, with implementation scheduled to start in June.
The project includes facilities located in the rural areas of Aleppo and Idlib, namely: the blood bank in al-Atarib, al-Atarib Clinical Center, al-Hota Center, Maarat al-Artik Center, Kabtan al-Jabal Center, Kafr Nouran Center, Babka Center and al-Eis Center, all located in the Aleppo countryside.
In the governorate of Idlib, the project includes health centers located in Ehsim, Kafr Oweid, Kafar Sijnah, Maaret Hurmah, Urum al-Jawz, Hafsarjah, and Kafr Rumah.
Towards doing away with generators
The selection of the centers was based on a study conducted by specialists to measure the feasibility of installing the system, Violet’s media official Muslem Sayyed Issa told Enab Baladi. The study examined surface areas, shade calculations, possible capacity, number of beneficiaries and hours of work required, he added.
Each of those medical facilities, Sayyed Issa noted, will be fully illuminated through solar panels, and will not require any other additions or equipment, noting that the capacity of the solar panels varies independently from one center to another according to needs. However, he estimated that capacity will generally range between 5-27 kilowatts.
On the importance of such projects, Violet, a humanitarian relief group that is active in northern Syria, believes operating on solar energy helps to gradually dispense with generators and other energy sources, due to their high costs and the negative effects of their use on the environment.
The solar lighting project for hospitals “will reduce the cost to almost zero,” Sayyed Issa noted, “in addition to the calm it brings to the area, as well as being environmentally friendly.”
The electricity sector in opposition-held northern Syria faces a number of challenges, including damage to high-voltage networks as a result of bombardments and looting. Moreover, these areas generally suffer from frequent power outages.
In this context, the General Institution for Electricity, affiliated with the so-called Salvation Government, launched a plan for the rehabilitation and maintenance of towers and high voltage networks in the Idlib governorate, as per the announcement made by the Institution via its social media accounts last February.
Projects bolstering the significance of solar energy in Syria
In recent years of the Syrian war, attention has been focused on devising technical alternatives that serve to address shortages in the service sector. These innovations were achieved by harnessing available technologies, and benefiting from potential in areas controlled by the Syrian opposition, specifically those marked by relative stability and improved conditions of services provided to citizens.
Syrians have had to contend with power outages, as the electrical grid and energy infrastructure were rendered out of service during the conflict. As such, solar panels were the most suitable solution in some areas, which tended to promote the prospect of alternative sources of electricity that are available and clean.
For instance, the local council in Marea in the northern Aleppo countryside launched a plan to shift dependence to solar energy to light its streets, in cooperation with the Syrian regional program at Chemonics International.
The Nawa Hospital in the Daraa countryside approved the reliance on solar energy in September 2017 when the opposition was in control of the town. At the time, the Local Council installed hundreds of panels and batteries in a project that was hailed by the local residents as the “largest” the southern region has seen in terms of cost and equipment.
How do solar cells work?
“Solar panels are composed of photovoltaic cells that installed as a two-dimensional matrix inside every single panel,” said Jamal al-Hussein from the town of Bala, in an earlier conversation with Enab Baladi.
“One of the most important advantages is that we are able to combine different numbers of cells to provide greater electrical output,” he added. “This method makes solar electricity a viable option for longer periods of time to supply power for homes and businesses.”
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