A rural hospital in Western Nepal may see its electricity availability expanded significantly through a solar energy project begun by Portland Pearl Rotary.
A $60,200 project has been approved by both the Pearl Rotary Club board and District 5100. To proceed, The Rotary Foundation is reviewing the application and a request for $20,500 from the international non-profit arm of Rotarians.
“The grant will pay for a 9KW solar array (48 panels) and large battery bank to provide reliable back-up power for a growing hospital in remote Western Nepal,” reports Rotarian Jordan Weisman of Future City Solar (pictured speaking to Pearl Rotary). As PRRC’s international service director, Weisman–himself a solar power entrepreneur–conceived the project and has led its promotion.
Pearl Rotary’s partner in Nepal is the Dhulikhel Rotary Club in Kathmandu; significant support here has come from Portland Rotary (downtown) and Seaside Rotary. Pearl’s contribution of $5,000 has been buffeted by local businesses, including Weisman’s Future City Solar.
The Bayalpata Hospital is located 15 hours by rugged roads from the nearest airport. Serving an area with 260,000 people, the hospital sees 30,000 patients a year. The facility is being expanded with a surgical theater, a microbiology and ultrasound equipment, but faces this delimma: only 4-6 hours of hydro-powered electricity are available daily.
Two years ago, a small array of solar power was installed in a pilot project to serve the administrative needs.
On April 24, Weisman updated Rotarians on the progress to date. He also showed a video and greeting from Mark Arnoldy, director of Nyaya Health, the non-profit that operates the hospital (which is staffed by Nepali health care workers).
“It is an incredible feeling to know that we can do real good works around the world through the power of the Rotary community,” Weisman wrote after the District 5100 leaders gave preliminary approval to the Nepal project. “I’m excited about getting my first project as committee chair off the ground. If members have a passion for a project internationally, please come and join our committee.”
Weisman has also said he will organize a Rotary trip to Nepal when the solar-powered panels are installed and are supplying the 25-bed hospital with a more reliable power supply.