world's largest solar powered hospital opens in haiti world's largest solar powered hospital opens in haiti
may 30, 2013

world's largest solar powered hospital opens in haiti

hopital universitaire de mirebalais- world’s largest solar powered hospital opens in haiti

all images courtesy of partners in health




the world’s largest solar powered hospital has just opened its doors in haiti and boasts over 1800 solar panels on its elegant and otherwise, stark, white rooftop. haiti’s central plateau is riddled with intermittent flows of energy- a fact that derails the possibilities of large-scale healthcare infrastructure. in the specific region of mirebalais, located 30 miles north of the capital port-au-prince, outages occur for an average of three hours each day. the new hopital universitaire de mirebalais, a venture of partners in health, will cover an area of 205,000 square feet and its 300 beds will assist in correcting a national healthcare system with scarce or disparate resources.


most impressively, however, is the employment of design solutions in the building system as a whole, wherein the building is set to generate more energy than the hospital will consume. even before the complex officially opened, the german-supplied solar panels reportedly produced 139 megawatt hours of electricity- enough to charge 22 million smartphones and offset 72 tons of coal. the architecture is solving myriad problems and composed such that it provides rather than garners resources. the surplus electricity will be funnelled back into haiti’s national grid, a testament to the ability of the built form to create a sustainable system for survival.  



an overview of the site and narration of the infrastructural needs the hospital will meet, both on an urban scale and to individuals

video © partners in health



view of the expansive campus



the solar cells top the impressive geometric roof plan



local electricians were trained to maintain the energy-catching system and will remain employed by the hospital



in progress view of the installed cells



local electricians were instrumental in the creation of the infrastructure-building project- itself expected to to provide the area with 800 or more jobs 



interior views of the mosaic-clad ward


video © partners in health

  • I never understand why people don’t put in rooflights in these solar buildings.
    Then you would get free daylight average 14hrs a day.

    mackenzie collins says:
  • Kudos…… well done !!!

    Paedra says:
  • Very impressive, That kind of buildings should be made more often…

    luisEfe80 says:

    But hospitals in reality have to meet the electricity demands of very complex mech systems that operates 24/7, vertical transportation system, life support equipment etc. None are present in this case.

    Kudos on the high ceilings and ceiling fans, kudos.

    idle_crane says:
  • Hey luisEfe80, what do you mean by “in reality.” The hospital has six operating rooms, a neonatal intensive care unit, a digital radiography suite, a major IT system, and all the other “complex mech systems,” as you so eloquently put it, that are needed to provide effective health care. And yea, it has some ceiling fans.

    BlockFace says:
  • there is some wonderful backstory about the mosaic projects and training program lead by Laurel True, see facebook pages for Mirebalais Mosaic Collective and Mosaic Artwork Fund For Mirebalais Hospital – Haiti Kudos all around!

    musiva says:
  • @ BlockFace,
    by in reality I refer typical energy demand for a comparable hospital. Comparability refers to other hospitals that are recently completed, with similar floor space.

    Typically, for a hospital, at least 50% of building energy consumption is dedicated to operating the mech system (meaning mechanical ventilation, and air conditioning); to ensure the comfort of the patients and staff, and more importantly some capacity is devoted toward to prevent cross contamination of air-borne diseases etc.

    Examining the roof of this complex, there is not a visible mech system in place. It is rare to have buildings where air intake is under-gound (for obvious reasons). Further more, if you have ceiling fans, it suggests to me that the ventilation system in this complex is probably not a comparable one to a hospital I am accustomed to. If you have full air conditioning, why use ceiling fans? Dust often collects on the blades of the fans, and is a hygiene hazard.

    I am not saying these guys haven’t done a good job. If you don’t have a full mech system, having high ceiling and fans is precisely the right thing to do.

    But I reservations about the buildings capacity to deliver health care to the same standard as we have come to expect. Solar is part of the energy solution for sure, but to suggest it is capable of being the only solution is gross misrepresentation of reality.

    idle_crane says:
  • know, idle_crane, in western world we’ve habit in having a lot of medi-care assistance, that’s true. but I think that in this case (haiti) the core of question is: they made that HUGE structure mainly with donations. and, believe me, for a local citizen such “modest” level of assistance (ceiling fan – no air conditioning) is a great change in their daily life standard…

    mario clima says:
  • At the core of my commentary, “Solar is part of the energy solution for sure, but to suggest it is capable of being the only solution is gross misrepresentation of reality.”

    Of course I am in support of a new hospital.

    idle_crane says:
  • “Solar is part of the energy solution for sure, but to suggest it is capable of being the only solution is gross misrepresentation of reality.”

    When we burn fossil fuels, we are releasing trapped sunlight energy. Today’s solar is just a much more direct pull from our (essentially) sole energy source. Find a better argument.

    “But hospitals in reality have to…”

    … This is not a real hospital, then?

    Certain types of people see the word ‘solar’ and just can’t seem to pee all over it quickly enough. Unless they are entirely invested in oil futures, I have trouble seeing why they get so bunched up.

    Gabe says:
  • If you actually read the article you would have seen that they are in an area where the power goes down for three hours a day. So depending on solar is probably going to be better and they will still have electric as a back up.

    Pauline says:
  • Impressive. Idle_Crane. the objective was to provide a hospital that will not be affected with power power was the obvious choice at this location. if they didn’t produce enough to run vital hospital equipment then they wouldn’t be supplying the excess to the grid as stated.

    Tom says:
  • idle-crane, Have you been to Mirebalais? Please take the trip if you ever have the chance. Check out their life in all aspects. This is a training hospital, a hospital for the people. Compared to their life it is a God send. And by the way God did have His hand on this project and these people.

    Barbara says:

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