Who, What & Where

  • Studer Innotec
  • Hospital gains energy independence with hybrid system
  • Lukla, Nepal

The Company

The project was the overall responsibility of the Swiss electric company Groupe E. Bernard Magnin, appointed responsible for the technical part and installation, is a veteran in constructing sustainable power solutions with renewable energy. He has a long-time collaboration with Studer Innotec SA, a Swiss manufacturer of high-quality inverters and inverter/chargers that provides outstanding performance and flexibility.

The Challenge

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and providing healthcare is a major challenge for the country. The Lukla hospital, located in the Solukhumbu region at the heart of the Himalayas at 2,580m, opened in 2005. Electricity was initially supplied solely by hydropower. During the winters the hospital had to close for one or two months due to insufficient energy supply. Even at full power, the energy manager had to turn off power to parts of Lukla when the hospital needed to use heavy equipment such as the x-ray machine.

Renewable Solution

To create a hybrid system by adding solar power to the microhydropower plant in order to allow the hospital to obtain complete energy independence.

The founders of the Lukla hospital recognised that they didn’t have sufficient energy supply with their current energy solution. Marco Vuadens (Nicole Niquille’s* husband) contacted Bernard Magnin to develop an adequate solution and present them with a feasibility study. The project was presented to Swiss company Groupe E which decided to finance it and provided persons to install the system. The hybrid system consists of 10kW PV, 3,000Ah battery park, a hydraulic turbine, three XTH 8000-48 used in charging mode from the hydraulic turbine, six XTH 8000-48 3ph used in inverter mode. In addition, 2 AJ inverters are used to operate the signalisation lamps. By using one part of the XTH inverter/chargers for charging the batteries from the non-stable hydro turbine and another part as inverters, the hospital always receives high-quality power supply.
The local energy manager received five days of on-site training in order to manage the production and consumption of energy. This installation is practically maintenance free.

Project Financing and Costs

The financing of this project is 100% covered by private funding (the Swiss company Groupe E).
The Lukla hospital is run by the Pasang Lham* Mountaineering Foundation with financial and technical support from the Foundation Nicole Niquille, a Swiss non-political, non-governmental and non-profit organisation, under the auspices of the Nepalese government.

Project Outcome

Currently, the Lukla hospital provides excellent year-around healthcare for its nearby community. People come from miles around for vaccinations, medication for children, family planning, dental care, etc. The hybrid energy production system combining hydro- and solar power has enabled the Pasang Lhamu-Nicole Niquille Hospital to achieve complete energy independence.