NAM Jawara secures D15M solar project for Bansang Hospital

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By Omar Bah

The National Assembly Member for Upper Fulladu West has secured a US$300,000 solar project for Bansang Hospital and 16 communities in the constituency.

Apart from addressing the hospital’s electricity challenges, the 250kw solar works are expected to generate D5.4 million per annum from the sale of excess energy to Nawec.

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The project funded by an unnamed philanthropist, is installed by a Gambian entrepreneur, Saul Njie, of GreenLink Ltd.

This revenue on top of regular subventions, Dawda Kebba Jawara told The Standard, will help the hospital achieve its core objectives as well as build its capacity to cater for the 600,000 patients it serves yearly.

He said the project will also complement the government’s health sector (NHSSP 2018-2023) and energy sector (The Gambia Energy Roadmap 2025).

“With the tender rolled out by Nawec to electrify 270 communities across the country, the extra energy from the Bansang Hospital will help connect at least 16 new communities in my constituency, including Boraba,” he said.

Jawara said when the philanthropist was approached, he demanded that a partnership is secured with Nawec for the sale of the excess power before he would commit himself.

“I later managed to broker a deal between Nawec and PowerUp Gambia. With this deal, Bansang Hospital will be an independent power producer (IPP) selling its excess energy to Nawec on a net metering scheme. We are forecasting potential earnings of about D5.4 million every year for the hospital,” Jawara said.

Sustainability  

Jawara said to ensure effective sustainability, the project is coordinated and installed by a Gambian entrepreneur, Saul Njie, of Green Link Gambia LTD.

“He is a competent Gambian who has been overlooked over the years by government. One example is the Kaur defunct solar project which was given to an Indian company which is still struggling to finalise the connections. This is why I have been advocating for us to have a local content act. Zambia has one,” he added.

He said Muhammed Jagana of J-Fin had wanted to sponsor a local content bill to make sure such projects have a local content of at least 30% but unfortunately it was choked.  He said the law will be enacted when the UDP comes into power.

Project contractor Saul Njie announced that 84kw of the 250kw has already been installed and will be commissioned soon.

“We will be installing a bi-directional metre for now so that during the day the hospital will supply to Nawec and the evening when the sun is down the hospital will draw power from Nawec,” he said.

He said when Nawec fails completely the hospital will be run by the reserve solar power batteries.

“We will be monitoring the system on a daily basis to ensure efficiency and sustainability. We have a well maintained locally trained staff,’ he said.