Solar Energy for Hospitals & Biomedical Research Centres in Sub-Saharan Africa: When does it make sense?

Solar energy has been growing exponentially worldwide due to its numerous advantages and ability to meet the demands of a growing population. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the need for reliable power in hospitals and biomedical research centres has become increasingly crucial. This article will explore the reasons behind this need, the benefits of solar energy, and the optimal conditions for implementing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, battery energy storage solutions (BESS), PV + diesel hybrid systems, and solar-powered medical oxygen production.

Why Hospitals and Biomedical Research Centres?

Hospitals and biomedical research centres play a vital role in the health and well-being of people in Sub-Saharan Africa. They are responsible for providing critical medical care, conducting life-saving research, and creating a sustainable healthcare infrastructure. As such, they require continuous, reliable, and efficient power to run their operations and support their mission.

The Need for a Reliable Power Supply

The lack of a reliable power supply in Sub-Saharan Africa poses significant challenges to hospitals and research centres. Frequent power outages disrupt essential services, equipment, and research. This can lead to the loss of valuable data, life-threatening delays in care, and increased operational costs. The need for a stable and efficient energy source is essential in addressing these challenges and ensuring the effective functioning of healthcare institutions.

The Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar energy offers several benefits for hospitals and biomedical research centres in Sub-Saharan Africa:

  1. Reliability: Solar energy systems can provide a stable and continuous power supply, reducing the risk of outages and minimizing disruptions to services and research.
  2. Cost-effectiveness: Solar energy systems have significantly reduced in cost over the past decade. This makes it more affordable for healthcare institutions to invest in solar power.
  3. Sustainability: Solar energy is a clean, renewable resource that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote environmentally friendly practices.
  4. Scalability: Solar energy systems can be easily expanded to meet the growing demands of hospitals and research centres.

When to add Solar PV?

It is important to consider the following factors when deciding when to add solar PV to hospitals and research centres:

  1. Location: Areas with abundant sunshine and minimal shading are ideal for solar PV installations.
  2. Energy demand: Understanding the energy consumption patterns of the institution will help determine the appropriate size of the solar PV system.
  3. Available space: The facility must have enough space for the installation of solar panels and related equipment.

Financial incentives: Governments and organizations may offer incentives, grants, or tax credits for the installation of solar PV systems, making it more affordable. Ask us more to find out current financing opportunities.

When to add Battery Storage?

Battery storage is useful when:

  1. Grid instability is prevalent, and backup power is crucial for maintaining essential services and research activities.
  2. Energy demand fluctuates throughout the day, and the stored energy can be used during peak demand periods.
  3. There are plans to expand the solar PV system in the future, and additional storage capacity will be needed.

Types of Battery Energy Storage Solutions (BESS)

Different chemistries of battery energy storage solutions can be used for hospitals and research centres, including:

  1. Lead-acid batteries: These are a cost-effective option but have a shorter lifespan and lower energy density compared to other battery types.
  2. Lithium-ion batteries: They offer a higher energy density, longer lifespan, and better performance but come at a higher cost.
  3. Flow batteries: These batteries are well-suited for large-scale energy storage and can provide longer discharge durations, but they are more complex and expensive than other options.

Hybridation with the Utility Grid and/or Existing Diesel Gensets

Integrating solar PV systems with the utility grid and/or existing diesel gensets allows for a more stable and flexible power supply. Hybrid systems can optimize energy generation and consumption, reducing reliance on diesel fuel and lowering operational costs. These systems can be designed to prioritize solar power, using grid electricity or diesel generators only when necessary.


Additional uses: Solar Energy for the Production of Medical Oxygen

Medical oxygen is essential in hospitals for various treatments and procedures. In many Sub-Saharan African hospitals, oxygen supplies can be unreliable and costly. Solar energy can be used to power medical oxygen production systems, providing a sustainable and cost-effective solution. By harnessing the sun’s energy, hospitals can produce their own oxygen, reducing dependency on external suppliers and ensuring a steady supply for critical healthcare needs.


Solar energy presents a promising solution for hospitals and biomedical research centres in Sub-Saharan Africa, offering a reliable, cost-effective, and sustainable power source.

Assessing the specific needs and circumstances of each institution is crucial in determining the optimal time and method for implementing a solar PV system with or without battery storage or hybridizing with the utility grid or with a genset. By embracing solar energy, healthcare institutions can overcome the challenges of unreliable power supplies and contribute to the long-term development of the region’s healthcare infrastructure.

Are you ready to explore the potential of solar energy for your hospital or biomedical research centre in Sub-Saharan Africa? Our team of experts is here to help you assess your needs, design the optimal solution, and provide a techno-economic proposal.

Contact us today to start your journey towards a more reliable, sustainable, and cost-effective energy future!

Marcos Morales

Marcos Morales

Head of Commercial & International Projects

Azimut World

Sala espera dones hospital

Bouaké: from energy poverty to health

From energy poverty to Health care: the role of renewable energy in improving healthcare in Bouaké.

As part of the ongoing efforts to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the global climate emergency, the #KotiakróA360 project has been launched. This project is being led by our engineer, Maria Vivancos, and has received funding from the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation (ACCD). The primary goal of this initiative is to enhance the provision of healthcare services at the Health Center and Maternity Ward located in the Kottiakoffikro neighbourhood of Bouaké city in Ivory Coast.

During the intervention in the area, a photovoltaic generation system has been implemented, which has ensured the availability of electricity 24 hours a day and improved the energy efficiency of the impacted center. It should be noted that in many areas of Africa, the general electricity network is unstable and causes frequent power outages.

This often results in hospitals or health centers being left in the dark while consultations, surgeries, etc. are being carried out, or medical equipment deteriorating due to poor quality of the network.

Additionally, the intervened infrastructure benefits from energy savings by consuming less energy from the grid.

The implementation of solar panels enables the stabilization of electrical supply and ensures its availability, which provides a substantial improvement in the service and provision of healthcare, as well as the lifespan of medical equipment, by minimizing network failures.

In the first phase of the project, our project manager and engineer worked with local technicians to install a photovoltaic system that ensured the availability of locally-produced electrical energy from renewable sources. During the process, the technicians were trained in maintaining the solar plant, promoting maximum local autonomy possible. Moreover, this installation has also enabled the availability of locally-produced medical oxygen with concentrators.

Oxygen is an essential medicine for the management of childbirth and the treatment of childhood illnesses such as pneumonia, malaria, or sepsis, which are prevalent in the intervention area. Furthermore, with the COVID-19 pandemic, oxygen became even more critical for health centers and hospitals such as Kotiakró, which was designated by the Ministry of Health as a center for the isolation and treatment of COVID-19 patients. At that time, during the pandemic, it was anticipated that, while the majority of treated patients presented mild symptoms, 14% would require oxygen in the hospital, and 5% would require mechanical ventilation in intensive care. Therefore, the availability of medical oxygen became a vital issue to ensure the health and well-being of the population.

The installation of 3 concentrators has allowed the hospital to have guaranteed access to medical oxygen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in order to meet the needs for medical oxygen, which were previously not guaranteed.

As explained by Eugène Kra Kouassi, President of AIP, and Assé Kouadio Innocent, Director of the Pediatrics Department at the CHU (University Hospital Center), in the documentary you can watch, prior to the intervention, there were no public hospitals in the area that could administer continuous oxygen. Before the project, the only healthcare center in the city with oxygen availability was the CHU. However, the supply was not guaranteed, as it was provided through cylinders that were filled at centralized plants in Abiyán, which is a 5-hour drive from Bouaké.

Indeed, due to the lack of availability of continuous oxygen supply in Bouaké, patients would have to be transferred to the hospital in Yamoussoukro. Therefore, it was deemed necessary to find alternatives for the supply of medical oxygen in Bouaké.

If someone outside the city needed this treatment, they often had to travel more than 40 km to reach the CHU in Bouaké. Many times they arrived and there was no oxygen available in the cylinders.

In addition to the installation of the oxygen concentrators, technical and healthcare personnel were trained on the proper use of the equipment and improved patient care. The project not only includes the technical aspects related to the installations, but also aims to approach healthcare and health improvement through the sensibilisation of the local population near the Kotiakró Health Center, through the training of women’s groups in different villages and neighborhoods.

Throughout the different phases of the project, informative sessions on sexual and maternal-infant rights have been carried out with the aim of improving women’s health and the overall health of the community. These sessions provide knowledge and tools to promote sexual health from a rights-based approach focused on the well-being of individuals.

We work on projects like this because we believe that access to energy improves access to other rights such as the right to good healthcare or the right to education. Although the intervention in the area has already been completed, we are waiting to obtain results and assess the impact of the project on improving healthcare, both in terms of equipment, healthcare personnel, and beneficiaries.

Maria Vivancos

Maria Vivancos

Head of Cooperation & Oxygen Area

Azimut World


Technical advice on standardizing processes for creating micro-networks in rural areas in Mozambique

Technical advice on standardizing processes for creating micro-networks in rural areas in Mozambique.

According to World Bank sources, in 2020 only 30.6% Mozambique’s population had access to electricity. The great challenge facing the country is its total electrification by 2030, especially of rural areas that are far from the grid.

FUNAE is the main public body in charge of electrifying the most remote and isolated areas, mostly with the implementation of micro-grids powered by renewable energy (solar photovoltaic and hydraulic). Currently, tools are needed to build and maintain the mini grids and guarantee quality standards.

In this context, our engineer and head of international area @MarcosMorales has given training to provide process-standardization tools for designing and implementing micro-grids that will provide electricity in rural areas.

This technical assistance is provided for FUNAE as part of a project led by our colleagues @Aiguasol, which also proposes the design of a digital tool to control and monitor micro-grid data as part of the DigutalEnergy Challenge for Utilities 2022 competition.


Training sessions on the use of medical oxygen generators continue in health centres in Chefchaouen

Training sessions on the use of medical oxygen generators continue in health centres in Chefchaouen.

In several areas of Morocco, for example in the province of Chefchauen, around 20 out of every 100 children born have some complications.

Of these 20 children, it is believed that 18 could be saved if there were more access to drugs, oxygen therapy and more medical knowledge.

The most critical factor that raises mortality in births with complications is the trip from the health centre to the hospital, during which there is no guarantee of medical oxygen and that increases the suffering of the baby and the mother.

For this reason, training has been given to 12 midwives from 5 rural health centres with the assistance of Dr. Irene Martínez de Albéniz, a paediatrician at the Sant Joan de Déu hospital and a specialist in infectious diseases. These training sessions are part of the “Training, EERR, medical oxygen and ESS project: a multisectoral approach aimed at improving public health in the province of Chefchaoen. Funded by AECID and led by Azimut360 in collaboration with the ADL AL Maghrib Association and the Chefchouen Health delegation.

In the organized sessions, topics such as nutritional aspects and infectious screening during pregnancy, basic neonatal resuscitation, problems in the recent birth and feeding and preventive activities for infants and children were dealt with.

These training courses were linked to the improvement of health centres by installing medical oxygen generators that will operate 24 hours a day thanks to the photovoltaic system that is being installed.

These days we are working with the teams from CODIBER and COANER, the local cooperatives in the province of #Chefchaouen. These cooperatives will carry out the installation work of the #plaquessolari in the 4 Health Centres in the project. The CODIBER and COANER cooperatives had already participated in previous projects with us where training was given on solar energy installations, and in this project they already act as professional service providers.

Our specialist engineers are carrying out various training courses for technicians to install the #photovoltaic system and maintain it.

If you want to know more about the status of the project, follow our international social media accounts.

Article ARE

Understanding the clean energy transition in community-driven decentralised renewable energy projects in Germany and sub-Saharan Africa

Understanding the clean energy transition in community-driven decentralised renewable energy projects in Germany and sub-Saharan Africa.

Mireia Gil, engineer and project director of Azimut 360, contributed to the publication of the Alliance for Rural Electrification with the Gbreko Kanian Project Case study: Electrification of 7 rural communities with hybrid micro-grids and photovoltaic systems in the Zanzan region (Côte d’Ivoire).
The effects of climate change have accelerated and amplified in recent decades. Extreme weather, natural disasters, economic collapse, food and water insecurity are all symptoms of this crisis. Similarly, 759 million people have no access to electricity, while another 2.8 billion still suffer from unreliable electricity services. As it seems the Paris Agreement goals will not be achieved by 2030, new approaches to clean energy transition are required.
This publication explores the potential of community-driven decentralised renewable energy (DRE) projects to address the climate crisis, provide access to electricity and contribute to the socio-economic development of communities.
The publication’s case studies highlight the main benefits of community-driven human rights projects in Germany and sub-Saharan Africa, and some of the notable barriers faced by these projects.
You can read the entire publication on this link:

AZIMUT360 installs 500 kW for Gambia MRC

AZIMUT360 installs 500 kW for Gambia MRC.

AZIMUT360 presents the project developed with MBolo Association and the Medical Research Council (MRC) installing 501 kWp in Gambia. As technical partners in charge of the design, management and commissioning of the installation, Azimut360 follows the story of empowerment of 3 women who throughout the installation develop dependable technical skills.

Inauguration of the Tanafelt solar micro-grid

Inauguration of the Tanafelt solar micro-grid.

On 12 June, in Dardara (Chefchaouen, Morocco), was held the conference to mark the start of the project “Improving the competitiveness of the Tanafelt Women’s Textile Cooperative for local economic development in Northern Morocco”. The project, developed jointly with the local counterpart ADL-Al Maghrib and co-financed by AECID, focused on consolidating two projects of Social and Solidary Economy: the Textile Cooperative of women of Tanafelt and the Cooperative of renewable energies Codiber. The latter was created in the framework of a project executed by Azimut 360 in partnership with the City of Chefchaouen.
The improvement of the competitiveness of the textile cooperative has been achieved in part through access to 24/24h quality electricity through a 4.2 kWp solar micro-grid that serves the school, the nursery and the homes of the teachers of the village. Cooperative members have attended various training courses in electrical sewing and product marketing, which has enabled them to expand their production capacity as well as their product catalogue and customer market.
Codiber, the Chefchaouen renewable energy cooperative, consolidated and strengthened its competencies through theoretical-practical training it received as an installation company in the execution of the Tanafelt solar micro-grid.

10 mesures per cooperativitzar els municipis

10 mesures per cooperativitzar els municipis.

Aquest 10 de maig la Federació de Cooperatives de Treball de Catalunya organitza l’acte de presentació de 10 mesures per cooperativitzar els municipis, una proposa concreta per impulsar les cooperatives amb la col·laboració dels ajuntaments, de cara a les pròximes eleccions municipals del 26 de maig.

Des d’Azimut 360 participem en el vídeo de presentació d’aquestes 10 mesures, que busquen impulsar el cooperativisme i l’economia social i solidària, entenent que som agents necessaris per a la democratització econòmica dels municipis i per un desenvolupament local transformador.

Volem que les cooperatives siguin un actor socioeconòmic clau en una economia més plural i per això cal emprendre diverses mesures. Entre d’altres, destaquem la millora de l’accés al finançament i ajuts, el foment de la intercooperació o la promoció de l’economia local. A més a més, es proposa incorporar el cooperativisme en l’àmbit educatiu, impulsar la recerca i desenvolupament en el sector i impulsar la gestió cooperativa i comunitària dels equipaments municipals.

Per més informació podeu veure al vídeo:

New IDAE Self-consumption Procedural Guide

New IDAE Self-consumption Procedural Guide.

We have just brought out our new Self-consumption Procedural Guide drawn up by IDAE in collaboration with ENERAGEN. It arises from RD 244/2019 approved in April 2019 and aims to describe the procedures to be followed in the public administration and the distribution companies for the power generation facilities for self-consumption.
After the Royal Decree-Law 15/2018 and the doors it opened for measures such as the repeal of the “sun tax”, the simplification of the installation classes or the inclusion of shared self-consumption, in April 2019 the new regulatory framework was completed and approved in  RD 244/2019. This law develops the administrative, technical and economic conditions of self-consumption, introduces individual and collective self-consumption configurations, establishes a simplified compensation for monthly surpluses and reorganizes the administrative registry of the installations, among others. It covers the new modes of self-consumption: self-consumption with surpluses (with or without compensation) and self-consumption without surpluses.
The Self-consumption Procedural Guide precisely contains this new legislation and offers the 17 administrative steps to follow for each modality described, either for individual or for collective installations. These may be in private homes, condominiums or industrial buildings. The guide also contains an analysis of the steps to be taken to correctly process installations carried out before the RD or installations to be expanded. It explains the simplified compensation mechanism and will soon explain the procedures in the autonomous regions.
The Guide is aimed at the general public, but above all at companies designing and installing self-consumption systems. We encourage you to consult it, as it is a good starting point to understand and be able to benefit from the new regulation.
To access the Guide, you can use this link:

New model of municipal regulation for promoting self-consumption installations

New model of municipal regulation for promoting self-consumption installations.

The Working Group of Local Authorities of the Board for Promoting Photovoltaic Self-consumption in Catalonia, promoted by the Catalan Institute of Energy, approves a municipal regulation model that encourages the implementation of self-consumption installations using photovoltaic solar energy.

The proposed municipal regulation model results from the Photovoltaic Promotion Board in Catalonia and responds to Act 16/2017 of the Parliament of Catalonia, which  establishes the need for municipalities to actively contribute to the objectives of the fight against climate change. Thus, the regulation is addressed to all municipalities that wish to incorporate and promote photovoltaic installations in their municipality, with the modifications they deem appropriate.

The first section defines the administrative actions the Council can take on solar photovoltaic self-consumption installations by setting simplified procedures. Specifically, it proposes a preliminary notification mechanism allowing installations to be executed when all the documentation is presented. This documentation must include a technical report of the installation, the official statement of the installation company, the detailed quote and the required proof of payment. Most of these documents are included in the Annex to the Regulation.

The second section sets the tax credits these facilities may be entitled to, specifically those affecting Property Tax and in the Tax on Buildings, Installations and Works. These are the proposed economic measures to incentivise these installations.

Click here to access the municipal regulations: