[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] An Anglican-run clinic on the island of Big Ngella in the Central Solomons has turned to the sun to solve a problem of the lights going out at night. A new one-kilowatt solar power unit has been installed on the roof of Saint Clare’s Clinic. The photovoltaic cells will provide enough power to also keep the medicine fridges running – and will provide power 24-hours a day.
“With the installation of this system in place and 24-hours of power, it will certainly improve our services here”, nurse-in-charge Margaret Mara said. “The Clinic used to pull power from our main diesel power station at Taroania Shipyard, but that does not run 24-hours.”
St Clare’s Clinic serves 4,000 people living in four big and 15 small villages on the island. With access to 24-hour refrigeration, the clinic is now able to store its own medicines rather than having to shuttle supplies in from the hospital on the nearby island of Tulagi.
The $94,608 SBD (approximately £9,300 GBP) solar power system was installed by the Anglican Church of Melanesia’s solar project officer Holland Sikou, and was funded by a grant from the South Pacific Commission’s Small Energy Projects Programme.
Mr Sikou said that the new system can light up the full interior of the clinic with security lights in and around the building and freezers where medications can be kept.”