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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY RURAL RENEWABLE ENERGY ALLIANCE

Great Energy Challenge Innovator: Rural Renewable Energy Alliance

Project: Skip the Grid: Relieving energy poverty and improving health outcomes in Liberia

Location: Bong County, Phebe Hospital and School of Nursing, Liberia

Summary: A reliable electricity supply is a prerequisite for high quality healthcare delivery, yet many hospitals and health clinics rely on expensive and polluting diesel fuel. Sometimes no diesel is available. Skip the Grid will mitigate energy poverty and demonstrate a scalable community-based energy model by providing solar energy micro-grids to healthcare institutions in areas hit by Ebola in West Africa.

This project will also build local capacity through training in solar energy system design, installation, operations and maintenance. Capacity building is critical to foster a self-sustaining energy and business model.

Liberia and its neighbors are among the poorest in the world. Meanwhile, the cost of energy in West Africa is 60-80 times higher than for New York City or London residents. The act of relying exclusively on diesel fuel, when the grid is not available, plays a major role in creating this scenario. Solar energy can alleviate this burden. This project will illustrate a sustainable means of development with solar energy.

Goal: To demonstrate a scalable, sustainable, community-based energy model to reduce and stabilize energy costs for healthcare facilities in West Africa through solar micro-grids

Project Participants: BJ Allen, Special Projects Manager; Jason Edens, Director; Roger Garton, Technical Director; Joel Lindstrom, Master Electrician; Ben Butcher, Construction Manager; Lutheran Church in Liberia; Phebe Hospital and School of Nursing

The Great Energy Challenge grant program, in collaboration with a distinguished group of scientists acting as the board of advisors, awards roughly a half-dozen grants per year. The goal of the grant program is to hasten the growth of promising, global energy solutions as a response to climate change, energy resource constraints and environmental limitations.

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