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Solar panels that save lives in Syria

By mai 30, 2017No Comments


Geneva, 29.05.2017 Due to the damages and destruction of the electricity supplier and network, on which the functioning of many hospitals in Syria relies and thus is severely restricted, UOSSM is launching a groundbreaking project to supply life saving medical facilities with electricity from solar energy.

Amid the ongoing violence in Syria, Syrian civil actors are taking control of their future by creating sustainable, life-saving solutions to the ongoing attacks on local medical facilities. An innovative new project in Northern Syria spearheaded by the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) promises to transform access to urgently needed medical care.

“Syria’s hospitals face multiple risks, mainly the deliberate targeting by warplanes of medical facilities and health workers, which often result in power cuts to critical life-saving units – rendering hospitals inoperable”, explained Dr Tawfik Chamaa, president of UOSSM-Suisse. “To stay online, Syrian hospitals have come to rely on diesel—a fuel that’s expensive, dirty and vulnerable to the whims of warlords.”

“In our department, we have a total of 6 incubators. Electricity is critical for the functioning of these incubators. Electricity must be available continuously without shut down or cut-offs. Even if the electricity was to shut down for half an hour, it can cause severe problems. Children in incubators need a constant temperature.” Said Mohamad Dirbas, UOSSM Neonatal Nurse

Faced with these challenges, in 2016 UOSSM launched an innovative new project aimed at reducing operating costs and increasing hospitals’ resilience in the face of life-threatening power losses, through the installation of sustainable solar energy systems in critical hospitals.

“Our goal was to install a solar power system that provides clean, reliable, and inexpensive energy to Syria’s urgent care hospitals”, Said Tarek Makdissi, Project Director- UOSSM Syria Solar Initiative. “We initially started small, developing a pilot project in one hospital, which enabled the hospital to operate on 700-800 patients every month without using a single liter of fuel. Patients at this hospital will never again lose their lives because of a fuel cut. Now we are looking to expand the project and save further lives.”

This pilot project, the first of its kind in Syria, officially went live on May 29, 2017 after 10 weeks of installation and months of testing and monitoring. UOSSM installed 480 solar photovoltaic panels with a capacity of 127 kWp DC power, 288 batteries capable of storing 720kWh of power, and advanced data control systems.

“As first speaking about this project, I thought it is a joke, unachievable in such conflict conditions, but now months later, we are just convinced once again that those people there who live under fire deserve the brightest future. Such project proves to the entire world, that in Syria, there is people who loves life, believe in a future, and work for the interest of humanity and environment” Said Shadi Alshhadeh UOSSM-Suisse executive director.

Key outcomes of the UOSSM solar project

  • Reduced costs: Annual costs of diesel are expected to be reduced by about 20-30%, and annual hospital costs will be cut by nearly $150,000
  • Reduced dependency on diesel: Solar energy reduces a dangerous dependency on fossil fuels, saving an average of 300 liters of fuel every day.
  • Sustainability: Solar energy can provide fuel-free clean electricity for 10-20 years with minimum maintenance, and has the potential to provide electricity for 24 hours every day.

Note: Hospital name concealed for the protection of the staff and the facility.

Media inquiries and interviews please contact : 

Mr. Tarek Makdissi
Project Director, UOSSM Syria Solar
Phone: +44 115 888 2099

Shadi Alshhadeh
Executive director of UOSSM-Suisse
+41 78 659 48 48

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