Off-grid and solar energy system for Mali hospital

How to run a hospital in a place where electricity comes with high cost and low reliability?

In developing countries energy supply by grid is very unstable. Especially in Mali, a landlocked country with very few sources of energy within its own borders, where almost all power comes form diesel fueled generators. When the grid is down and diesel fuel in low supply, things literally come to a standstill.

While this is a huge challenge for just about any type of organization, it’s a critical problem for a hospital, providing urgent care and life-saving treatment for the poor, while attempting to do so in a financially self-sufficient manner.

But Mali does have one resource in tremendous abundance: the sun. Recently Anco van Bergeijk has taken initiative to harvest this energy and use it to power the Koutiala Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Together with local staff he installed a 304 kWh battery system.

64 MG Lithium-Ion LFP batteries provide the hospital with energy. These are charged when electricity is low-priced and discharged when costs go up or the grid goes down. During daytime additional power is provided by over 50 solar panels on the roof and even more in the future.

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The system

The 48 V system voltage is inverted to 3 phase 230 Vac by 12 Victron Energy 10k Quattro’s. The battery system is split into 4 parallel battery banks of 16 batteries and 4 MG Master LV’s take care of each bank’s battery management. The entire installation is built-up as a symmetrical bus bar system to minimize difference in the parallel battery banks.

Components used:

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Remote monitoring

The system is monitored remotely by Victron Energy’s Color Control, sending battery data to their VRM portal where the system’s history as well as live values can be viewed.

The system has been running for a few month now and doing an excellent job. Due to this setup the hospital is able continue its urgent care and live-saving treatments for the poor, even during blackouts. No more diesel-fueled generators, but a dependable, self-sufficient and sustainable solution.