Sopowerful Foundation

Location: Malawi

Sopowerful Foundation was established in 2019 with the mission to apply ‘solar where it matters most’. Since its foundation in 2019, it  has implemented over 20 solar systems, most of these in Malawi, two in Tanzania and one in Lebanon. Over 110,000 people have been positively impacted to date.

The solar power installations are realized to enable or empower Healthcare, Education or access to Water where this creates or improves opportunities for children. Electrification through solar power enables tangible and sustainable development in those areas where the lack of access to electricity implies daily experience of severe challenges.

NextEnergy Foundation is supporting SoPowerful to install an 8.1kWp rooftop solar PV system on Chiringa Health Centre in Phalombe, Southern Region, Malawi.

The Heath Center is located in the southern region of Malawi in the Phalombe District, a vulnerable area that is regularly affected by cyclones. The center offers health services to over 16,700 people every year. It is currently grid connected although it suffers from regular, daily power cuts, which limits the healthcare services that can be provided .

Following Cyclone Freddy in early 2022, Chiringa Health Center went without electricity for 2.5 months. In this period the hospital managed to serve 8587 patients and referred 200 patients to another facility.

The health center staff is onboard and committed to learning about how to operate and manage the system to ensure the project’s long-term success.

July 2024 Updates: Sopowerful celebrated the inauguration and handover of the new solar system, which brought great joy to everyone involved.

The project is contributing to the following relevant achievements:

  • increase in the number of working hours for health services during day and night,
  • increase the number of patients assisted annually,
  • decrease of number of patients referred to other facilities because of unreliable power supply as electronic equipment (e.g Oxygen machines) will be regularly functioning.

Moreover, the solar power system facilitates safe and reliable access to clean water. These sustainable solutions will empower Chiringa to fulfill its mandate of delivering quality healthcare services even in challenging circumstances.

The system, consisting of an 8.1kW peak rooftop-mounted solar PV array, is now serving as the primary power source for the health center, with the grid serving as a backup. Since its installation, the solar PV hybrid system has consistently provided reliable power for the health center, ensuring uninterrupted operation.

During commissioning and handover, 3 people from the Health Center were trained on the basic operation and maintenance of the system.