Mar 7 – 11, 2022
Virtual Event
Africa/Casablanca timezone

Solar Powered Radiotherapy in Africa

Mar 10, 2022, 12:30 PM
Virtual Event

Virtual Event

Invited Talk Physics Plenary (7)


Holger Wirtz (Lake of Constance RadiationOncologyCenter, Germany)


Title: Solar-powered Radiotherapy 4.0 – chance for Radio-Oncology in Africa

Author: Holger Wirtz, email:; Phone: +49-7731-79768-17
Affiliation: Lake Constance Radiation Oncology Center, Singen Friedrichshafen

WHO estimate that 14 million people around the world are diagnosed with cancer each year and half of them live in developing countries. Around 70% of the people who die from cancer live now in low-income or medium-income countries. Cancer kills more people than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria together. All these people share only 3% of the world´s health care professionals and 1% of the world´s total costs for health care. 50-60% of cancer patients require radiotherapy as important (and cost effective) part of their treatment. There is an estimated shortage of around 5.000 radiotherapy machines in low-middle-income-countries (LMICS). The majority of people in Africa suffering from cancer has no or limited access to radiotherapy technology. State of the art radiotherapy machines (linear-accelerators) need (uninterruptable) electrical power.

Project-plan, Implementation in Singen (Germany):
The Lake Constance Radiation Oncology Center, Singen run 2 Linacs of ELEKTA and 1 go.SIM-CT-Scanner of SIEMENS. The power consumption is about 150-170 MWh/a. The annual cost was about 35.000€ (dropped to 24.000€). Investigation on kW-peak-behavior of the ELEKTA-Linacs, CT, IT and cooling and a site-dependence computer-simulation on solarization was done to determine the solar-field. A cost-plan (return of investment) was developed. Each year the solar-harvest is about 55-60 MWh (based on 400m²-solar-field on the roof). It can be shown, that the annual cost can be cut by 30-40%; in summer the site is completely independent from public-grid. In case of low-sun periods electrical-power is purchased from public grid. In sunny periods the solar-generator feeds back energy in the neighborhood-hospital!

Project-cost-plan, Implementation in Ghana:
2016 the OiER (Organization for International Economic Relations, Vienna) and ELEKTA asked for a consultancy of planning a solar-power solution of the “Sweden Ghana Medical Centre”. This site runs one ELEKTA-Linac, CT and MR. The annual consumption is about 270 MWh. Energy-cost from the grid is about 100.000€ in this region. A computerized simulation on solarization for this site was done. An installation schema was developed. An autarkic energy solution (solar panels + battery container) was preferred. Total cost of implementation was about 300.000€ (2017). Due to the unknown roof-shielding and the expected damage of the panels by radiation the concept of roof-mounting was converted into an area-mounting beside the main buildings minimizing cabling.

Perspective on Education, Training, Controlling:
It makes sense to expand treatment-capacity of existing sites. Increasing staff-number and staff-experiences is obligatory. Electrical power stability and autarkic, technical solutions must be included in purchasing-plans of radiotherapy-machines. Communication (Internet, Mobile, video-conferencing) need power as well. Help for low-experienced staff-group can be obtained from using automatic-planning of patients-therapy, checking and controlling with digital-assistance systems (online-dosimetry, portal-dosimetry, process-control and risk-control). All of those systems can be audited and supported via internet) as to be shown in our departments (Project: RADIOTHERAPY 4.0). Cyber-education on site by experienced remote-trainers can be ordered.

Presentation materials