The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to place PWRstation solar technology in Ethiopian refugee camp office
Geneva, Switzerland, December 21, 2015 - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, Switzerland and W. Giertsen Energy Solutions are acquiring 20 transportable PWRstation® Genesis solar generators to supply electricity at its refugee camp office located in Mi Aini, Ethiopia.
The acquisition is part of an important UNHCR initiative aimed at reducing the organization’s operating expenses, upfront capital expenditures, human and material risk; as well as global carbon emissions produced from its use of diesel fuels.
With nearly half its total staff of 9,300 working in remote and difficult field locations, it is essential that UNHCR address the challenges field staff experience when deployed on emergency missions or living and working in protracted humanitarian operations. These often include difficult living and working conditions, including lack of water, inadequate accommodation, poor sanitary conditions and an unreliable and expensive source of electricity to power routine appliances.
W. Giertsen Energy Solutions, an independent operating entity under the Norwegian W. Giertsen Group umbrella, will be designing and implementing the hybrid energy management system at Mi Aini, and will incorporate the Genesis solar generators engineered and built in Switzerland by PWRstation SA.
The preassembled PWRstation solar generators are characterized by their unique retractable racking systems for rapid activation in off-grid environments. The racking mechanism can be easily opened and closed to allow for relocating the generators as needed, or in in the event of severe weather or for anti-vandalism protection.
PWRstation’s racking system technology, branded EXOrac, uses an open based architecture to accommodate standard photovoltaic components from around the world, including solar panels, inverters and batteries. The technology is now also being used for grid-tied and off-grid commercial and residential flat roof and ground mounted applications in urban areas.
This initial pilot project enables the UNHCR to field test the latest proven solar technology in an effort to meet its own increasing need for practical, cost effective off-grid energy solutions for both staff and refugees.
UNHCR Global Staff Accommodation Manager Harry Richard Leefe says, “Each year UNHCR spends millions in the field on diesel fuel and diesel generator maintenance. It is now essential to implement new and practical energy solutions to meet the needs of our extensive off-grid operations. We believe this new approach to solar power will deliver substantial benefits for us in the field.” He adds, “We will be enthusiastically evaluating the results of this important pilot and look forward to further projects that reduce UNHCR dependency on fossil fuels and reduces its carbon footprint.”
W. Giertsen Energy Solutions EVP Business Development Bart Van Ouytsel says, “We like the practical aspects of PWRstation’s retractable racking technology. In combination with our other systems, the preassembled solar gensets will free us to build more remote energy installations throughout the region in less time.”
PWRstation Chief Commercial Officer Gianfranco Albertella says, “While only a small first step, we at PWRstation are thrilled to be contributing to the UNHCR’s humanitarian efforts. We cannot think of a more honorable entry to the world’s developing markets, which are projected to represent more than 80 percent of all new energy production and consumption worldwide by 2035.”
This initiative aligns with recent commitments to electrify the African continent in renewable energy made in Paris during the COP21 Conference, and where PWRstation activated a Genesis solar generator to power temporary RATP bus shelters to accommodate event visitors from around the world : http://www.pwrstation.com/#!blank/cpkbj
About PWRstation: PWRstation is a solar products development company committed to clean, renewable and environmentally sustainable energy that is affordable, easy to access and rapid to activate. PWRstation designs and markets a proprietary solar racking system technology uniquely engineered to simplify and accelerate the implementation of today’s solar installations in grid and off-grid environments. The company’s racking solutions are offered in various size configurations and levels of assembly for commercial and residential flat roof and ground mounted applications in urban areas; as well as activation-ready Genesis solar generators with integrated PV panels and inverters, pre-wired for grid and off-grid applications, as provided to the UNHCR.
The company is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, with offices in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, Miami, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. PWRstation is a supported by the SPEco and Développement Économique de Vaud and member of SEIA, SwissCleantech, Electrosuisse and Swissolar.
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Media Contact: Contact PWRStation Corp. media division via email at
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Phone: +41 79 632 62 51
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Phone: +1 305 929 8365
About the UNHCR: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.
Since 1950, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives. Today, a staff of more than 9,300 people in 123 countries continues to help and protect millions of refugees, returnees, internally displaced and stateless people.
Harry Richard Leefe
Global Staff Accommodation Manager
UNHCR Staff Health and Welfare Service
Division of Human Resource Management
+41 22 739 74 69
About W. Giertsen Energy Solutions: W. Giertsen Energy Solutions provide turnkey photovoltaic solutions based on high-quality components. The company work both in the on-grid and off-grid environments, specializing in solar parks, commercial, and aid and relief applications. Under the W. Giertsen Group umbrella, they have since 2011 worked with UN and NGO’s, mainly in Eastern Africa, designing, installing and monitoring various photovoltaic systems, securing stable electricity for e.g. Hospitals, water pumps and compounds.
Bart Van Ouytsel
EVP Business Development
W. Giertsen Energy Solutions
+32 475 454373