SOLAR POWERED GREEN CLINIC
The Nose Clinic is perhaps the only ‘green’ clinic in the world. On Wednesday 11 January 2012, we added an important footnote to medical history. We performed a delicate Rhinoplasty procedure – a three hour operation – entirely on solar energy. This follows the recent installation of specially designed solar panels on the roof of our clinic to power the electronic equipment in our specially designed Rhinoplasty theatre.
Electricity generated by the solar panels routes from the roof through an ‘inverter’ directly to the theatre where it powers lights, the vital life-sign monitors, the surgeon’s Zenon headlamp (used during surgery), the overhead projector (for projecting surgical pre-planning images onto a screen), and even the satellite music piped into the theatre during surgery.
“Before we started, we switched off all utility power at the mains switch,” explained surgeon, Dr Pieter Swanepoel. “This automatically activated the supply of solar electricity to the theatre. Our equipment and lights worked perfectly throughout the three hour operation.”
Some of the solar generated energy trickles through to a bank of deep cycle batteries that store power for use during overcast weather. The system switches instantly to main power when needed.
“But, by and large, we expect to run happily and steadily off our alternate source of power, excluding of course, the autoclave used to sterilize our instruments. This equipment draws a staggering amount of current for short periods, just too much for the solar panels, but this may change as time passes.
“Going green, we believe, is the only way to go,” says Dr Swanepoel, “and it fits superbly with our location on undisturbed African bushveldt on the slopes of the Bronberg mountains east of Pretoria.”