Lady Pohamba Private Hospital installs Namibia's largest pumped solar water heating system


Submitted by Helvi Ileka
Published 11 months, 1 week ago

The Lady Pohamba Private Hospital Private Hospital in Windhoek recently commissioned 278.2 m2 of a planned total of 358.68 m2 collector area of solar water heating, with the remaining 80.2 m2 targeted for commissioning by August 2022. When complete, the entire 251.04 kWth system with 39 800 litre storage tank capacity will make it one of the largest solar heating systems operational in Namibia.

Helvi Ileka, Joseph Shigwedha and Fenni Shidhikaat the newly installed Lady Pohamba solar water heating systems

The solar thermal system is being installed in three phases with the aim to supply the hospital's thermal heat demand directly with solar thermal using heat pumps as a backup. The new Lady Pohamba system comprises of:

A system on the North Block of the hospital, consisting of 210 m2 collector area (equivalent to 147 kWth), and a hot water storage tank capacity of 15 000 litres. The system supplies the following areas of the hospital with hot water on a daily basis without interruption and is largest pumped solar water heating system in the country to date: 

  • 20-bed paediatric ward
  • 7-bed paediatric ICU
  • 18-bed day ward
  • 60-bed medical ward and
  • 10-bed step down/rehab ward

Sixteen thermosiphon systems, with a total collector area of 68.2 m2 (equivalent to 47.7 kWth) and a hot water storage capacity of 4 800 litres, were installed in February 2022 on the cardiac wing to supply hot water to the following areas: 

  • 11-bed ICU,
  • 33-bed cardiac/neuro ward
  • 10-bed maternity ward extension, radiology and pathology

The existing 20 000 litre hot water storage tank system is heated using conventional electricity and this is to be fully converted to solar thermal system, requiring a collector area of 80.48 m2 (equivalent to 56.34 kWth).

The new solar hot water system will supply hot water to the following areas:

  • 15-bed trauma unit
  • 7 operating theatres
  • 2 surgical wards (which include 41 beds)
  • 7-bed isolation unit
  • 10-bed multi-intensive care unit
  • 11-bed cardiac vascular intensive care unit
  • 34-bed medical ward
  • 11-bed paediatric ward
  • 10-bed neonatal intensive care unit and
  • 12-bed maternity ward

It will also provide hot water to supportive services such as a hospital pharmacy, radiology department and pathology department.

The systems were designed and installed by a local company, Solsquare Energy (Pty) Ltd, with partial funding from SOLTRAIN. 

The quality inspection for the systems at the cardiac wing and north block was completed on 23 February 2022 and 01 April 2022 respectively by a team comprising local SOLTRAIN project representatives from the Namibia Energy Institute (NEI) and Namibia University of Science and Technology and Solsquare will start work on upgrading the remaining conventional system in August 2022.

It is envisaged that the installation of these three systems will encourage other hospitals to take up solar thermal systems for heating and cooling, to reap the SOLTRAIN co-financing benefits and achieve their visions on becoming carbon neutral. It is also noteworthy that a rooftop solar PV system has also been installed at the hospital.