Solar Energy System Installation Project Changing Lives: AMU

Sahay Solar

Solar energy system installation project is a joint project between AMU, Sahay Solar Association Africa, University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) and Gamo Gofa Zone Administrative Office.

Solar energy system installation project has barely completed a year electrifying health centers, is already changing lives of community around. It’s not only proving to be a better alternative for power, but has altogether transformed the prevailing healthcare scenario at center-level.

This joint venture between Arba Minch University (AMU), Sahay Solar Association Africa, University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) and Gamo Gofa Zone Administrative Office signed on 14th April, 2015, till date, has got seven health centers electrified so far.

The project team chairman from AMU, Mr Zelalem Girma, informed that so far six systems have been installed in 2016, apart from one as a part of pilot project in 2014. This year, more such systems will be in place as equipment are expected to arrive from Germany in November, 2016 and January, 2017.

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More importantly, it’s learned, solar system is poignantly changing demand-and-supply equation at health centers and surrounding community. The daily requirement of 5 kilo Watts is now being fulfilled as each system provides them with 5-to-6 kilo Watts of power and many centres are even said to have been generating revenue by selling extra power to other clients.

Gamo Gofa Zonal Health Department head, Mr Degaga Demeke, expressing his satisfaction, said, ‘‘This project has greater impact on healthcare service.’’ He informed his office has allotted ETB 3 Million last year and equal amount for this year will be earmarked. Of 15 selected health centers, he said, six have already been electrified while nine will be installed this year.

The nine identified health centers to be electrified this year are, Dera Dime Health Center at Deramalo Woreda, Kolezale Health Center – Bonke, Mengeda and Bola Health Centers –  Kucha, Manuka Health Center – Boreda, Biozema Health Center – Zalla, Ubayela Health Center – Uba Debresehay, Ditasuluse Health Center – Dita and Wobora Health Center at Chencha Woreda, Mr Degaga added.

As per the agreement, Gamo Gofa Zone Administrative Office is sharing 30% of total project cost; AMU contributes 10% while 60% comes from Sahay Solar Association Africa. The installation is being executed by a three-member team of instructors from Electrical Engineering Department, AMU, includes Mr Zelalem Girma, Mr Engidaw Abel, technical manager and Mr Zeleke Ginto, technical assistant.

Feeling contented, Mr Engidaw Abel, said, ‘‘We employ 25% of our time in this project and I feel satisfied as I learn new things every time when I go to different health stations. Previously, it would take a week to install a system, now it can be done in 3 days and people are happy.’’

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