The sun’s energy for Emergency

The sun’s energy for Emergency

In Entebbe, Uganda, 2,600 photovoltaic panels of Enel Green Power will be installed on the roof of the paediatric hospital built by Emergency and Renzo Piano


A centre of excellence in paediatric surgery will soon be built on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, the largest in Africa and the second largest fresh water reserve in the world.

The first stone of the hospital, promoted by Emergency, the association founded by Gino Strada, and designed by the architect Renzo Piano, was laid on February 10th, in Entebbe, Uganda, 35 kilometres from the capital Kampala. The project aims to deliver free treatment to children and to reduce infant mortality rate in the country which is of 138 children under 5 years of age every one thousand live births.

The facility will become the second cutting-edge health centre of the African Network of Medical Excellence and will also be an example of sustainability, creating a synergy between Emergency's excellence in paediatric surgery, Enel’s excellence in green tech and the creativity of the world-renowned architect Renzo Piano.


The sustainability of a new hope

In addition to the founder of Emergency Gino Strada and to Renzo Piano, the laying of the first stone of the hospital was attended by representatives of the main donors, including Enel, the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng.

The representatives of the Ugandan government which has donated the land on which the facility will rise have stressed the importance of the centre which will help to improve health standards in the area and become a point of referral for children with surgical needs throughout Africa.

“This hospital will be a model of medical excellence, environmental sustainability, energy independence and harmonious distribution of space. We want to use the resources of the land, water and sun, the best achievements of modernity, the most genuine ones”

Renzo Piano, architect


Furthermore, Enel Green Power is collaborating in the project with the installation of 2,600 photovoltaic panels for a total of 289.24 KWp (kilowatt peak). The panels will be provided by 3Sun, Enel's innovative factory specialised in the production of multi-junction thin-film panels: a technology capable of ensuring a greater production of electricity and maximum efficiency in areas like sub-Saharan Africa which are characterised by high temperatures, low latitudes and diffused light.

As Francesco Venturini, Head of Enel’s Global Renewable Energies Division, explains, “Our photovoltaic installation fits perfectly into the architectural plan by Renzo Piano, will guarantee complete energy self-sufficiency of the hospital and will be a model of sustainability."


Land, water and sun: putting energy into circulation

The facility to be built on the shores of Lake Victoria will also be a training hub for young doctors and nurses from across Africa. Using the same approach, Enel will use the facility to train - as we already do in elsewhere in South Africa and South America - people from local communities in the maintenance of the photovoltaic panels, teaching them a working method that will allow new installations throughout the country, with a view to creating shared value.

“For our company, social responsibility also means being present and making a tangible contribution to initiatives that are so important for the populations of the countries in which we operate”

Francesco Venturini, Head of Enel's Global Renewable Energies Division


In addition to the photovoltaic panels, our Group will provide engineering services and support at the construction yard during installation and inspection, covering also the cost of transport of the panels. To build the installation, we have also engaged three of our Italian partners which have become donors in this initiative: Santerno (supply and transport of inverters and other materials), Agatos (design and assistance in inspection), Terni Energia (supply and transport of materials, installation and inspection).

Fit perfectly into the architectural plan, the solar panels will be installed on the roof of the building and shelter the underlying structures from the sun and rain. Enel's renewable technology will be a complementary element of Renzo Piano’s plan which provides for the construction of the building in rammed earth, a traditional building technique that uses earth and ensures thermal inertia, thus keeping the temperature and humidity constant.

The Entebbe paediatric centre - with 3 operating rooms and 78 beds - will be fully integrated in the surrounding natural setting and offer its young patients, both Ugandan and coming from the rest of Africa, in addition to treatments, a landscape where - as stressed by Renzo Piano at the presentation - the trees and the vegetation become a metaphor of the healing process.