Updated on September 20, 2020

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Created on August 27, 2015

Solar Suitcase

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The Solar Suitcase is a complete solar electric system aimed to be of assistance in off-grid clinics.

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Product Description

The Solar Suitcase is a packaged solar power system designed to power off-grid medical clinics and provide surgical lighting, power mobile devices, and medical devices. The solar system is designed, manufactured, and distributed in Nigeria by We Care Solar.

Market Suggested Retail Price

$1,645.00

Manufacturing/Building Method

Mass produced by a local contract manufacturer in California that assembles the Solar Suitcase product.

Intellectural Property Type

Open Source

User Provision Model

NGOs or donors contact We Care Solar to implement the Solar Suitcase

Distributions to Date Status

5,213 as of September 2020.

Power rating (W or kW)

240 W

System dimensions (m)

500 x 395 x 190 mm

Battery type

Lithium Ferrous Phosphate (LFP) battery

Battery capacity (mAh)

256 W-h

Description of solar panels

1 pcs, 60-240 W Monocrystalline Panel

Grid compatibility (yes/no)

No

Description of mobility

Yes

Design Specifications

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.

Replacement Components

N/A

Lifecycle

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 Parameters

Manufacturer-specified performance targets include: whole system integrable, safe, low maintenance, durable, simple, and expandable.

Vetted Performance Status

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.

Safety

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

Complementary technical systems include enhancers such as additional solar panels or Maternal Health Kit. The Solar Suitcase MATERNAL includes a fetal Doppler.

Academic Research and References

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.

Compliance with regulations

No specific standards identified.Interview with representative

Other Information

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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