2016 Liberia Solar Program Trip Update

2016 Liberia Solar Program Trip Update

As many of you know, Chip Pickering and Keri Dunn traveled to Liberia from 2/18 to 3/2/16 to continue our ongoing ministry program to provide sustainable power to clinics and orphanages in Liberia. During this trip we had the goal of 1) checking the progress of the 2015 projects, 2) planning for 2016 projects and 3) provide training and develop our logistical infrastructure to allow for the installation and maintenance of these systems in Liberia.

We owe a debt of gratitude to our friends Michael Davis, Scott Dwyer, Joe Daweah and Clint Bares of Partner Liberia. They really helped us with logistics, arranging vehicles and places for us to stay. Additionally, many thanks to Willie Voupawoe, who worked around us for a week and arranged all of the things we needed in Bong County. Thanks also to Dr. Jefferson Sibley, Medical Director at Phebe Hospital, for our arrangements and support while on the compound.

Initially we spent several days in Monrovia, visiting orphanages and clinics there:

Sis Iye Orphanage: We met Sister Iye and were shown the new playground equipment which was recently donated. The solar system has been operating well and providing for the needs of the orphanage and school, and recently they have added a refrigerated cooler and were pumping water into the water tower.

Dr. Chessor’s Clinic in Monrovia: We visited the clinic, met with Dr. Chessor and considered the site for a possible solar installation.

Children’s Relief Ministries Orphanage (visited in 2015). We examined the clinic, wiring and loads and it was determined that portions of the roofing would need to be replaced in preparation for our 2016 solar installation.

We then traveled to Bong County and stayed as a guest at the Phebe Hospital Compound:

Basama Orpanage (behind Cuttington). We visited with Elizabeth Williams and worked with their solar PV system. The solar panels were cleaned and the Fronius solar power system was inspected, cleaned and closed up.

Foequelleh Community Clinic: We provided the installation of the solar PV system at Foquelleh clinic and trained the staff on the proper use of the solar power system. While we were there the new Director of the Community Health Department, Dr. Gabriel Logan, was present and was informed about the program while he had the opportunity to see a completed installation.

Steven Trexler’s Clinic and Residence: We visited Steven Trexler and reviewed the operation of the existing and new power system at his clinic.

We re-visited the facility on Saturday and installed some spare panels on the roof of Steve’s residence, thus providing power to his inverter and battery system (previously he has been running the generator for 1 hour in the morning and 2 hours in the evening). We took a spare 320 AH battery to the residence for his use and re-installed his battery charge monitor so that he could monitor the charge status, and will follow-up on how the system is working for him.

C B Dunbar Hospital, Gbarna: We talked to Jonah Togbah about providing some solar power to the facility.

Looking Forward:

One of the significant learnings this trip includes how the local literacy and cultural perspectives play into the solar electric use (and misuse) in Liberia. As we spend much of our time in-country teaching the team and working with NGOs in the communities, it has come to our attention that written instructions are not as effective as we thought. We are currently in the process of re-visiting our instruction methods and posted instructions for clinic and orphanage systems. No matter how much we try, there is a very low awareness of the proper use of electrical power at these facility due to cultural and norms and general awareness, even among solar designers, missionaries and people who should know better. This gives us plenty of opportunity for improvement!

We have made arrangements to have a small storage building built which will allow our solar equipment to be stored separately from the hospital’s received stores. This will help us have access to the equipment on weekends and frees up valuable space in the hospital’s general stores area at Phebe Hospital.

We have purchased a vehicle (used Toyota Hilux) and we are in the process of getting it through customs. This will greatly assist the team in transportation to sites for solar installation and maintenance.

At this time I have confirmation on the funding for the following systems in 2016:

  • 10 clinic solar systems (possibly 1-2 more)
  • 2 orphanage solar systems
  • 3 Residential systems.

According to Global Health Ministries (who is incredibly important to our mission by providing transportation for our components) they will have space available on a shipping container to Phebe in September, 2016. We are working toward this, which would put the equipment in Liberia on or about November, 2016.

Thanks for all your support and prayers as we continue to provide sustainable power solutions for Liberia.

Charles “Chip” Pickering, Ph D
Pickering Energy Solutions

Sis Iye Clinic Entrance with Momo

Sis Iye Clinic Entrance with Momo


Foequelleh Clinic solar installation in progress

Foequelleh Clinic solar installation in progress.


Dr. Gwenigale

A chance meeting between Chip and Dr. Gwenigale who, as the Minister of Health in 2006, challenged us to start a solar program in Liberia.



Chip troubleshooting the solar PV system at the MODUC Orphanage (just goes to show that I actually can do some work when I need to).



While providing the expansion system at MODUC Orphanage, the wife of Isaac (one of the electricians) had an emergency C-section and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. I had the honor of having the infant named after me, and we had a chance to visit while I was there.




Foequelleh Clinic

Keri, I and the team at Foequelleh Clinic after the installation.


The new inverter being installed at Foequelleh Clinic

The new inverter being installed at Foequelleh Clinic.