Solar Suitcase Provides Light, Power During Emergencies

The problem with medical emergencies is you never know when they’re going to strike. For those injured during an armed conflict or natural disaster, getting to a hospital is often hampered by a lack of power, light, and proper equipment. Traditional generators for lights and power are heavy, noisy, and sometimes impossible to maneuver into areas where they’re needed the most.

What first responders need is an easy-to-use power generation unit that’s both portable and reliable. And that’s exactly what the folks at We Care Solar seem to have created with their innovative solar suitcase.

Solar Suitcase

image via We Care Solar

The suitcase was originally designed to support timely and efficient emergency obstetric care, but it’s able to provide health workers with highly efficient medical lighting and power for mobile communication, computers and medical devices when responding to all types of health care emergencies.

The system includes high-efficiency LED medical task lighting, a universal cell phone charger, a battery charger for AAA or AA batteries and outlets for 12V DC devices. The basic system comes with 40 or 80 watts of solar panels, and a 12 amp-hour sealed lead-acid battery. The 15 amp modular system is designed for expansion and can accommodate up to 200 watts of solar panels and a 140 amp-hour sealed battery.

But the real beauty of the solar suitcase is its simplicity: There are no fuses to replace, and no regular battery maintenance is required.  Battery replacement is estimated to occur every two years. One switch turns on the system, while another turns on lights and charges devices. The system is plug-and-play and can be installed without need for an experienced solar technician.

Technology like this could especially be useful in very rural clinics as well as developing countries, such as parts of Africa, where power grids are spotty and and often quite unreliable.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • Brookshear

      Interesting concept. Have they been tested in real situations?