Solar power provides renewable energy to Indian hospitals

Category : Technology/Innovations

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. searing / ˈsɪər ɪŋ / (adj.) – extremely hot

    I cannot stand this searing heat. I want to go for a swim.

  2. maternity / məˈtɜr nɪ ti / (adj.) – related to pregnancy and birth

    I bought some maternity clothes for my pregnant sister.

  3. respite / ˈrɛs pɪt / (n.) – a short rest from something unpleasant or difficult

    This vacation is a respite from a lot of schoolwork.

  4. spender / ˈspɛn dər / (n.) – someone who spends money

    I’m not a big spender. I rarely eat out.

  5. cash-strapped / ˈkæʃ stræpt / (adj.) – having no sufficient money

    The school will be giving free lunch to cash-strapped students.


Read the text below.

A searing heat often envelops Raichur, in southern India. Temperatures can soar to 42 degrees Celsius (107 degrees Fahrenheit) in the warmest months.

At the local Government Maternity Hospital, a wall-mounted fan spins without interruption, bringing sweet relief to newborn babies and their mothers.

But such respite wasn’t always guaranteed in a region where frequent power cuts to India’s overmatched electrical grid can last hours.

It wasn’t until the hospital installed rooftop solar panels a year ago that it could depend on constant electricity that keeps the lights on, patients and staff comfortable and vaccines and medicines safely refrigerated.

“Before installing solar panels, we often worked in darkness. Raichur has a lot of power problems. We had no power for 4 to 5 hours a day and this caused problems for us and our patients because during deliveries, even to give an injection to the patient, we had to use a torch or a lamp,” said Martha Jones, a senior nurse.

In semi-urban and rural regions of India and other developing countries with unreliable power grids, decentralized renewable energy — especially solar — is making all the difference in delivering modern health care.

Shifting the hospitals and clinics to clean energy helps cut emissions in a sector that accounts for about 4.4% of the global figure, according to a study by Health Care Without Harm, an international nonprofit that advocates to reduce that.

Besides providing uninterrupted power, the rooftop solar is helping the medical facilities cut costs.

In nearby Zaheerabad, a low-income neighborhood, Dr. Kavyashree Sugur says the public health center she oversees has paid at least 50% less for electricity in the two years since installing solar panels.

Vital money that can be spent on health care she adds: “That cost we can use for other purposes, especially in health facilities, we need many things.”

That’s a big benefit in a country that is among the lowest spenders on health care in the world — India spends just a little more than 2% of its national budget on health care, compared to the United States’ 18% — and many hospitals and health clinics are cash-strapped.

“Now with solar, more people are going to government hospitals rather than private ones,” said Hanumantappa Channadaser, Selco Foundation’s branch manager in Raichur.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.


Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Decentralized renewable energy, such as solar panels, is making all the difference in delivering modern health care in areas and countries with unreliable power grids. What other industries do you think would benefit from this kind of power generation (ex. education, manufacturing)? Why? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, does your government strongly support the use of renewable energy? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Aside from solar power, what else do you think would make the difference in modern health care (ex. medical equipment upgrade, highly trained medical professionals)? Discuss.
  • Selco Foundation’s branch manager in Raichur said that more and more people in India are now going to government hospitals rather than private ones. Is it the same situation in your country? Why or why not? Discuss.


Category : Technology/Innovations