LUTH Adopts Solar Systems For Smoother Operations

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LUTH Adopts Solar Systems For Smoother Operations
LUTH Adopts Solar Systems For Smoother Operations

When it comes to the operations of medical facilities in this day and age, the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, is a shining example of innovation. With rising electricity prices and an increasing amount of delinquent bills from government agencies, LUTH has made a risky move by committing to solar energy to guarantee a steady supply of electricity. This tactical change not only demonstrates the hospital’s dedication to patient care but also the increasing significance of renewable energy in the nation’s healthcare industry.

The complicated web of monetary and infrastructure problems that federal health institutions throughout Nigeria face served as the impetus for LUTH’s decision to switch to solar power. Hospitals and other government organisations are finding it difficult to pay their electricity bills since the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) announced increases in electricity pricing. Due to outstanding debts of N47 billion, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) recently threatened to cut off power to the Presidential Villa and other important government buildings. With a debt of almost N12 billion, the Nigerian Army was one of the biggest borrowers.

The severity of this situation has been especially high in medical facilities. For example, the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan experienced numerous blackouts in March as a result of unpaid invoices totaling N495 million. The hospital’s capacity to deliver critical services was seriously impeded by the disconnections, putting patients’ and employees’ health in serious danger. In a letter to the Minister of Finance, Prof. Jesse Otegbayo, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UCH, brought attention to the terrible circumstances, expressing regret that the hospital’s monthly government subvention was not enough to meet its many costs, including energy bills.

In a similar vein, the exorbitant cost of electricity has put LUTH under tremendous financial hardship. The hospital spends as much as N150 million a month on electricity, according to the current Chief Medical Director, Prof. Wasiu Adeyemo, while only receiving a pitiful N14 million in government power subsidies. Prof. Chris Bode, the former Chief Medical Director, expressed similar worries, pointing out that the hospital’s gas-powered hybrid energy system was in danger due to rising petrol prices. The ongoing provision of healthcare services has made the investigation of alternate energy sources necessary due to these cost constraints.

Speaking on these challenges, LUTH has taken a revolutionary step by integrating solar energy into its power supply system. This initiative is part of a bigger scheme to create a clean and renewable energy hybrid energy system. The hospital administration, led by Professor Adeyemo, has demonstrated a strong dedication to utilising solar power to mitigate the impact of power outages. It was determined to use solar energy for several reasons.

The rising cost of gas made it increasingly difficult to sustain the hospital’s gas-powered energy system. Then the frequent disconnections by electricity distribution companies (DisCos) due to unpaid bills posed a severe risk to the hospital’s operations. By investing in solar energy, LUTH aims to achieve energy independence, reduce operational costs, and ensure a reliable power supply for its critical healthcare services. First off, maintaining the hospital’s gas-powered energy system became more challenging as petrol prices rose. Second, there was a serious risk to the hospital’s operations from the energy distribution companies’ (DisCos) frequent disconnections owing to unpaid bills. LUTH hopes to attain energy independence, save operating expenses, and guarantee a steady supply of power for its vital healthcare services by making an investment in solar energy.

The recently commissioned test run of the solar energy project marked the start of its execution. Installing solar panels and the accompanying infrastructure to harness solar power is the first step in the process. By expanding this system to include the entire hospital, a reliable and sustainable power source will be made available. Prof. Adenoma is optimistic that the project will be completed by year’s end and greatly improve the hospital’s ability to provide services.

Continuing, the public supply supplied just 8.3% of the electricity required over a week during the test run, while the hospital’s Ward A’s alternative power source supplied 91.7% of the required electricity. “Our partners have demonstrated capacity with the proof of consent and we are satisfied,” said the CMD who disclosed that the hospital has adopted a strategic plan to ensure uninterrupted power supply broken into three segments immediate, intermediate, and long term. “In addition to that, TNL has also donated 30 fans to Ward A. What we have seen now is immediate; we also have our intermediate plan even before these current challenges that we are facing. So now we have this opportunity, we want to commission this and see how it works and some of us that are used to solar and inverter energy systems, you know that the technology has gone ballistic. No gadget cannot be powered by the solar system; so that is the reason why we are here today,” the CMD revealed.

Prof. Adeyemo revealed that the administration chose to test a medical ward called Block A, which comprises wards A2, A3, and A4 in addition to a private unit, following a power audit. The head of LUTH reassured personnel that the alternative power plan would be funded by hospital revenue generated internally and asked them to refrain from misusing the facility. The solution provider, Taranis Novus Limited, said they have produced an all-in-one 20kw/40khh energy solution based on solar renewable energy, according to Mr. Femi Numa, managing director of the company. This method guarantees that power shortages or blackouts will never occur in medical or healthcare establishments.

“Today, as we activate this alternative energy solution, we are setting a new standard for clean energy production in this national centre of medical & healthcare excellence. This solar solution is more than just an assembly of panels and batteries; it is a promise of a brighter, greener future. A future where our energy needs are met not by depleting resources but by harnessing the boundless energy of the sun.

Numa disclosed “The journey to this moment has been paved with challenges, but our collective resolve has turned those challenges into milestones. This project will serve as a model for others to follow, showcasing that renewable energy is not only viable but preferable.”

As stated by Mr. Kehinde Olaleye, deputy managing director of Taranis Novus Limited (TNL), installed lithium batteries and is used to augment the system’s primary energy source, which is the sun. “The last place it will draw from is the grid, and that means whether it’s Band A or Band B, you don’t need to worry,” he said. The project specifications include a 20-kilowatt capacity inverter. During the pilot phase, the system will power basic lighting, fans, sockets for medical equipment, and a few air conditioners in critical areas.

According to Eng. Segun Ogunkeye, Head of Engineering at LUTH, the facility features a 20-kilowatt free energy supply that is backed by eight 48-volt lithium-ion phosphate batteries that have a 10-year lifespan each. He continued by saying that the inverter, solar panels mounted on the building’s roof, and energy from the national grid will all be included in the experimental programme. He advised, “This is not the only place that we have an inverter in this hospital but this is the only place that we have an inverter with panels. And my advice to all the users of this equipment is that misuse should not be encouraged. An inverter is not meant to power heating elements like a hot plate or boiling ring. We are appealing and also the engineering department has set up a task force that will be monitoring the misuse of this facility.”

Benefits of Solar Energy for LUTH

For LUTH, the use of solar energy offers several advantages. Cost savings is one of them. Promoters of the solar project said that LUTH can drastically reduce its electricity costs and free up money for other essentials like medical supplies, employee wellness, and facility upkeep by lowering its reliance on the national grid and gas-powered energy. In addition to being less expensive, solar energy provides a more dependable power source than the frequently interrupted supply provided by DisCos. This improves patient care by guaranteeing the continuous operation of vital medical facilities and equipment. The project contributes to the quest for environmental sustainability as well. As a clean and renewable energy source, solar power supports international efforts to halt climate change. Additionally, experts predict that LUTH will lessen its carbon footprint. Analysts think that LUTH would help create a more sustainable future for the world and Nigeria by lowering its carbon impact.

Energy independence is superior to anything else. LUTH can attain increased energy independence and lessen its susceptibility to outside variables like fuel shortages and tariff increases by installing its own solar power system. Given that a steady and dependable power supply is essential to the efficient functioning of healthcare facilities, this will have a knock-on effect of improving the delivery of healthcare. Continuous energy supply allows LUTH to better serve its patients, boost overall service delivery, and improve working conditions for staff.

Challenges and Future Prospects

Changes to solar energy have some benefits, but they are not without difficulties. Significant initial financial outlay is necessary for solar infrastructure projects. The management of LUTH is certain that these upfront expenses will be exceeded by long-term savings and advantages. To enhance the solar power system’s lifespan and effectiveness, the hospital must also make sure that it is properly maintained and managed. Other medical facilities in Nigeria and elsewhere may be able to learn from the success of LUTH’s solar energy effort. The adoption of renewable energy sources, such as solar power, could offer a workable alternative for lowering operating costs and enhancing service delivery in the healthcare industry as the nation continues to face energy issues. Additionally, this project is in line with worldwide trends toward sustainable energy and may draw funding and assistance from foreign organisations and donors that are eager to advance the development of renewable energy and healthcare.

According to the CMD, LUTH’s choice to use solar energy represents a critical turning point in its attempts to address the issues brought on by Nigeria’s electrical crisis. He claims that by making an investment in a dependable and sustainable power source, the hospital is not only safeguarding its operating future but also serving as a model for other establishments going through comparable challenges. “As the solar energy project progresses, LUTH is poised to enhance its service delivery, ensure better patient care, and contribute to a more sustainable and resilient healthcare system in Nigeria. This bold move reflects our hospital’s commitment to innovation and excellence, demonstrating that even in the face of daunting challenges, proactive solutions can lead to transformative change. As LUTH lights the way with solar energy, it offers a hopeful vision for the future of healthcare in Nigeria and beyond,” he said.