Off-grid solar in healthcare is increasingly recognized as a transformative solution for powering remote and underserved medical facilities, yet its adoption remains limited.

In regions where access to the electrical grid is either unreliable or nonexistent, healthcare providers are turning to off-grid power systems, primarily solar, to ensure their operations can continue without interruption.

According to a report from OffGridPS, these solar systems are specifically designed to adapt to the varying power needs of healthcare facilities, ensuring that critical medical equipment and lighting are always operational.

A Global Challenge

The healthcare system in Gaza, for example, nearly collapsed in the wake of military operations last October. This highlights a global crisis: the critical lack of reliable electricity in healthcare facilities worldwide. Gaza’s reliance on diesel generators due to an electricity grid collapse, exacerbated by a stringent blockade, mirrors a dire situation many hospitals and clinics globally confront.

The World Health Organization highlights that approximately one billion people depend on healthcare services lacking dependable power. This deficiency is particularly acute in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where a significant fraction of healthcare establishments operate without electricity, jeopardizing patient care and the functionality of essential medical equipment.

The Off-Grid Solar Solution

In this critical situation, off-grid solar power, coupled with battery storage, offers a glimmer of hope. Known for its ability to scale, cost-effectiveness, and resilience against climate change, solar energy could dramatically improve healthcare in the most vulnerable areas.

Despite the significant reduction in costs of solar modules, making solar and battery systems more feasible, their adoption is still surprisingly low.

Nigeria’s Electrification Struggle

Specifically, in Nigeria, 40% of primary healthcare facilities lack electricity, drastically hindering their ability to offer basic care. With 20,000 facilities awaiting electrification, the estimated cost for bringing power to healthcare in 63 countries is $4.9 billion—a sum that is achievable with proper prioritization.

Funding Gaps and Future Hopes

The road to widespread solar energy use in healthcare is blocked by financial challenges, including a mismatch in funding and a preference for loans rather than grants. Initiatives like those proposed by the IKEA Foundation show what’s possible with innovative financial models, but a major shift in funding approaches is needed.

Urgent Action Required

Despite the obvious benefits and pressing need, many healthcare facilities are still without power. The potential for off-grid solar to revolutionize healthcare services is enormous, but it demands immediate action.

New financing methods, such as energy-as-a-service models, and a move from diesel subsidies to support for renewables, could make a significant difference. Partnerships and policy support are key to overcoming these hurdles and ensuring that healthcare providers in remote locations have access to stable, renewable power.