Renewable Energy Bolsters Resilient, Equitable Healthcare in Barbados
RMI, Clara Lionel Foundation, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MHW), with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, successfully demonstrated how solar can power critical medical services in Barbadian health clinics during and after extreme weather.
Bridgetown, Barbados, September 26 – Today, the Ministry of Health and Wellness celebrates the official commissioning of 25 hybrid solar- and battery-powered cold storage systems at 10 health clinics that went online in August, enhancing critical medical services to tens of thousands of patients per year across the island.
Rooftop solar PV systems, not connected to the central grid, provide renewable, reliable power directly to on-site cold storage, also known as refrigeration facilities, which allow for the stability of life-preserving vaccines, insulin, and other therapies.
Further, the solar- and battery-powered cold storage boosts the clinics’ disaster preparedness, allowing for supplies to remain at a safe temperature during power outages often caused by hurricanes and other weather events.
The Government of Barbados has established the goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2030. The completion of this renewable cold storage project contributes to Barbados’ persistent, pioneering efforts to scale renewable energy solutions with the goal of enhancing local climate resilience, lowering energy costs, and creating a prosperous, national economy.
The Government of Barbados is developing innovative financing models to invest in preventative climate change measures such as renewable energy. With the Caribbean region feeling an influx in the frequency and severity of hurricanes, it is integral to replicate the model of clean, resilient power at critical facilities, supporting the health and well-being of communities locally and across the Caribbean.
With generous support from Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization, SunDanzer, the manufacturer of the hybrid refrigerators, and Goldfield Solar, a Barbadian renewable energy company, the systems were implemented at 10 health clinics across Barbados:
- Branford Taitt Polyclinic
- David Thompson Health and Social Services Complex
- Edgar Cochrane Polyclinic
- Eunice Gibson Polyclinic
- Frederick Miller Polyclinic
- Ladymeade Reference Unit
- Maurice Byer Polyclinic
- Randal Phillips Polyclinic
- Philip Polyclinic
- Winston Scott Polyclinic
“Access to solar-powered cold storage at the health clinics across Barbados is a great initiative. It not only allows for reliable refrigeration, even during an island wide power outage, but also it has strengthened our confidence in our vaccine services at our facilities. We are better able to focus energy on supporting our clients and the community during adverse weather events.” — Norma Bynoe, Chief Public Health Nurse
“Climate resilience is most impactful when planned and implemented through a community-centered approach. By installing resilient, renewable-powered cold storage units at health clinics across Barbados, the project protects sensitive medicines and vaccines, including from weather-related disruptions.”
— Sidney Jules, Manager in RMI’s Islands Energy Program
“One of our primary goals was to showcase how successful stakeholder collaboration can support the building of a more resilient environment and scaling clean energy. And not just in Barbados, but also in the broader region. It is our hope that the project has the ability to direct more focus to other entities for funding of similar projects throughout the Caribbean.”
— Krystle Francis – Director of Programs, Caribbean for Clara Lionel Foundation
“As climate related emergencies continue to grow in frequency and intensity, Direct Relief is committed to providing communities in Barbados and across the Caribbean region with resilient power infrastructure. These systems ensure uninterrupted healthcare for those most vulnerable, allowing vital healthcare services to transform lives and safeguard our communities.”
— Ivonne Rodriguez-Wiewall – Executive Advisor for Puerto Rico, Direct Relief
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For media inquiries, contact Tierney Sheehan, Communications Lead for RMI’s Islands Energy Program at (+1) 858-735-1169 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Clara Lionel Foundation
The Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) was founded in 2012 by Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. CLF invests in climate justice and climate resilience initiatives in the Caribbean & United States and helps communities prepare for and withstand natural disasters.
About Direct Relief
A humanitarian organization committed to improving the health and lives of people affected by poverty and emergencies, Direct Relief delivers lifesaving medical resources throughout the U.S. and the world to communities in need—without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. For more information, visit www.directrelief.org.
RMI, founded in 1982 as Rocky Mountain Institute, is an independent nonprofit that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and NGOs to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 50 percent by 2030. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Oakland, California; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing. More information on RMI can be found at www.rmi.org or follow us on Twitter or Facebook @RMICaribbean.