We Care Solar
The Solar Suitcase is a complete solar electric system aimed to be of assistance in off-grid clinics.
Medical facilities in the developing world that have limited or sporadic access to electricity, including hospitals, clinics, and other health centers.
Mass produced by a local contract manufacturer in California that assembles the Solar Suitcase product.
The Solar Suitcase is available under open hardware licensing.
NGOs or donors contact We Care Solar to implement the Solar Suitcase
5,213 as of September 2020.
Manufacturer-specified power rating
The size of land this system requires
Type of battery used
The type and size of the solar panels included in this system
Is this system compatible with a municipal power grid?
Description of the mobility of the solar power system
The system includes two 20 watt solar panels, a 14 amp-hour lithium ferrous phosphate battery, a 15A charge controller, two rechargeable LED headlamps and a phone charger. The Suitcase has 2 WCS Lighting Connectors, two 12VDC Accessory (lighter) Sockets, and two Expansion Ports to allow for optional accessories. A homerun cable and installation hardware are included.
The product is 502mm x 394mm x 190mm and weighs 32 pounds (with internal SLA battery). The battery is Lithium Ferrous Phosphate (LFP) and has a max capacity of 256 watt-hours. Aluminum Framed Solar Panels can be ordered in a range of sizes of 65-240 W, and the product has a Light Expansion Box that weighs 1.7 pounds.
The LED lights have a life expectancy of more than 50,000 hours of use, the battery 4-7 years, and the solar panel more than 10 years.
Manufacturer-specified performance targets include: whole system integrable, safe, low maintenance, durable, simple, and expandable.
Testing at a single clinic determined that the ratio of maternal deaths to live births dropped from 2.9% to 0.8% as a result of the increased light and safety of procedures following installation of the Solar Suitcase.
We Care Solar follows standard US design principles to ensure the products are over-current, over-and-under-voltage protected. Interview with representative
Complementary technical systems include enhancers such as additional solar panels or Maternal Health Kit. The Solar Suitcase MATERNAL includes a fetal Doppler.
Podmore, R., Larsen, R., Louie, H., Waldron, B., 2011, Affordable energy solutions for developing communities. Power and Energy Society General Meeting.
Taylor, M., 2010, Power and responsibility. Women in Engineering Magazine. Vol. 4.
Adair-Rohani, H., et al., 2013, Limited electricity access in health facilities of sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review of data on electricity access, sources, and reliability. Global Health: Science and Practice Journal. Vol. 2.
Humphreys, G., 2014, Harnessing Africa’s untapped solar energy potential for health: for a continent with abundant sunlight and poor electricity grid coverage, Africa makes very little use of solar power in health sector. Given recent initiatives, this may be set to change. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. Vol. 92.
McKnight, G., Herrera, A., 2010, IEEE humanitarian projects: open hardware for the benefit of the poorest nations Open Source Business Resource.
Callister, L.C., 2012, Let there be light: WE CARE Solar. Vol. 37.
No specific standards identified.Interview with representative
The manufacturer cites energy storage, provision of light, and minimum run time as evaluation criteria.
We Care Solar also provides an expanded version of the suitcase with two 80 watt panels, a 79 Ah sealed AGM battery, and an extra set of LED medical lights.
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