The Canadian Red Cross takes less than 12 hours to have operating rooms up and running in a disaster zone. Its heavy-duty inflatable tents can be put up in less than 20 minutes. It could be equipped with ultrasound monitors, water purification systems, refrigeration for the vaccines, sterilization equipment, x-ray machines, surgical tools, nursing stations and recovery rooms.
To power up the portable hospitals, the Canadian Red Cross is field-testing solar power. This would be effective in remote places where there would not be enough fuel to keep the generators on throughout the day. There’s no need to hoard fuel when using solar panels.
Solar power is already used as the main source of energy in various medical facilities in Haiti and Africa. Although it is still not 100 percent reliable and could withstand various weather conditions. But the technology is getting there. Solar technology improves each year and at present it is cost efficient compared to conventional power sources. This is one of the reasons why the Red Cross uses solar power in their remote facilities.
During the rebuilding of Haiti after the earthquake in 2010, hospitals in the country used renewable energy sources, particularly solar power. Doctors continue to operate on people even though the area was experiencing a power interruption.
The Thomonde Hospital in Haiti used to operate using diesel-powered generator but it was too expensive and was often out of service because of fuel-source disruptions. Now it utilizes solar panels as its energy source. The diesel generator is used to provide back-up power when additional power is required.
The photovoltaic system used at the 17-bed Thomonde Hospital was designed and installed by Solar Electric Light Fund. It consists of Trojan batteries with solar modules made by SolarWorld; and charge controller and inverters made by OutBack Power Technologies.
SELF also installed solar streetlights along the relief camps in Haiti. It also provided power to the schools and villages that didn’t have access to electricity before. The batteries would last up to 15 years, the solar panels for 30 years, and the electronics 15 to 30 years.
If portable solar power is good for hospitals, then ordinary homes could benefit from them as well. You can find various portable solar power kits in the market. You could find one that suits your needs, whether it’s for your house, cabin, boat, RV, or for other recreational uses.