The African Union Development Agency – NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) has completed a multi-faceted supported 100kW solar energy project in Sierra Leone that will provide access to clean water, foster climate smart agriculture technology but also support primary health care to Njala University hospital and the community at large.
In November 2020, Aptech Africa Limited was awarded a contract by AUDA – NEPAD to construct and install a solar powered system to offer diverse solutions to challenges among Mokonde community in Sierra Leone.
AUDA-NEPAD Programme Officer for Energy Infrastructure, Benjamin Akobundu explained that this clean energy initiative was aimed at drilling a borehole with an over-head reservoir facility. Drinking water will be pumped from the reservoir and supplied to both the University hospital, its students and the Mokonde community at large.
Additional water storage tanks were also constructed, so as to have gravity flow through a pipe network to Mokonde community and then through a drip line network to the greenhouse to water crop field.
The completion phase, saw a second new borehole drilled and an overhead reservoir for the entire area planned for irrigation. This was completed in early April 2021, including the installation and integration of the solar system to drive the irrigation technology.
AUDA – NEPAD has also constructed a 20 x 50-meter green house for vegetable cultivation under greenhouse plus a one-hectare crop field at the lower nursery of the University campus.
“The construction of the water supply system consisting of overhead tank, pipelines and tap stands. This commenced in January 2021 and was completed in late February, with the water system tested at a laboratory and certified safe for drinking and crop irrigation in compliance with World Health Organization standards. The installed system started supplying water to the hospital, students and community, as early as February 2021.” Akobundu explained adding the community has also been trained on how to do minor maintenance on the equipment for its long term sustainability.
As of today, the entire works are completed and all the three systems: PV plant with containerized energy storage system including inverters and batteries, water supply system, and drip irrigation system are all up and running properly with reticulation to the primary health care centre. By mid-June 2021, all installations with the entire system components were completed and the hospital was fully powered. The system was tested and is performing satisfactorily.
Meanwhile, next activity to be undertaken under this project is a ground inspection by AUDA-NEPAD inspection team, led by the Environmental Sustainability Division in collaboration with the service provider, Ministry of Energy, Planning, Agriculture and National Project Steering Committee of Sierra Leone.
Once approved, this will later lead to the facility commissioning and handover.
Source : AUDA-NEPAD website