Submitted by alexandra.naumanen on Mon, 07/29/2019 - 14:13

Naps also provides solar power consultation and maintenance services to other suppliers' systems.

The photovoltaic is in many places a very important, sometimes even the only source of power in many African countries, where the fixed grid and local infrastructure are unstable and power outages common. Stable power is nowadays a necessary for many functions. One of these are the hospitals, where the functioning of eg. oxygen equipment, operating room computer software and lighting ensure the success of the healthcare treatment. Although hospitals are almost always ensured with connected generators the manual start-up during the power outages is too slow. Solar systems are used alongside the power grid to ensure the stable power generation.

Naps Solar System at Ilembula

In the Southern Diocese of Tanzania, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) owns 21 hospitals that provide, among other things, operating rooms and services agreed to be delivered to the state of Tanzania. A year ago, the hospital in Ilembula was installed with an 18-panel photovoltaic system supplied by an African company. The system operates with lead-acid batteries as an off-grid solar system, alongside a fixed power grid. The new system ceased operations a month after its commissioning. After an inverter was replaced, the system started up, but only to shut down again soon. The local supplier did not find a fault in their system, so the hospital turned to Finland and Naps.

Often in consultancy projects Naps evaluates the technical basis of the system in advance and makes preliminary sugggestions to proceed. Typically, like this time, the customer wants to personally identify and rectify the situation with Naps' photovoltaic engineers on-site. Therefore Naps project engineer Risto Ant-Wuorinen travelled from Helsinki to Mbeya for a good 24 hours and then to Ilembula to study and maintain the photovoltaic system created by another operator.

Naps Solar System
El.tech. James John Mwinuka of Ilembula hospital and el.tech. Gabriel Lyimo helped Naps engineer Risto Ant-Wuorinen to evaluate and fix the solar system.

Ant-Wuorinen studied the system carefully. First he had to find out what the installed system was and why it didn't work as it should according to its electricity plan. On site the things started to unfold: the post installations were done incorrectly, so the battery was completely flat. The wiring of the entire module system had to be upgraded to optimize for local weather and electricity conditions. Charging controls and inverters were replaced with high quality models that Naps have decades of experience in African conditions. Some of the batteries were renewed and the new wiring shields with fuses were installed. In other words, only the solar modules and their mounting mechanics, as well as some of the batteries were left remaining of the original delivery of the solar system.

The long days culminated with the last rays of sunshine for the feelings of joy and relief as the solar system recovered. The system is now able to reliably handle the hospital's most important electrical loads, such as oxygenation, computer systems or operating room electrification - those that ensure the hospital's core quality of service.