Sustainable Energy in Palestine and Lebanon Through Solar Power
The availability of electricity can be hard to predict in the communities Anera serves. But, in resource-strapped Palestine and Lebanon, sunlight is one thing in ample supply. Anera is harnessing the sun’s rays to power buildings in both countries. We have installed solar panels on dozens of schools, community centers, hospitals and clinics, and waste-sorting facilities.
Using Solar Power in Palestine
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza must largely rely on purchasing electricity from Israel. The power supply is unreliable, and a financial burden for families. In Gaza, hours-long blackouts are an everyday occurrence. Because the electrical supply is unpredictable, people often have to drop everything when the lights turn on to do chores and other tasks. Unreliable electricity makes it difficult to plan even the most mundane aspects of daily life.
Palestinian communities, with the help of Anera, are becoming energy independent.
Here are some of the ways solar energy is being utilized in Palestine:
>>> Palestinian farmers in Gaza are using solar powered pumps to irrigate their crops and produce and Palestinian women are installing them.
>>> In Gaza, Anera is using solar energy systems to connect hospitals and clinics to sustainable power supplies and filter water.
>>> In the West Bank, solar panels are being used to provide sustainable energy to middle schools and preschools recently built or renovated by Anera.
Two West Bank Schools Unveil Upgrades, Solar Panels and More
The Jalqamous boys’ school and the Hatta co-ed school have just swung open their doors with full-scale renovations. Anera added libraries, science labs, playgrounds, and more – all the features a school should have to foster learning. The new schools are also solar-powered and fully accessible.
>>> Solar energy systems are filtering water at Gaza City hospitals to provide safe water for medical use as well as public drinking water.
Some more examples below.
Solar Energy in Lebanon and the Economic Crisis
In Lebanon, mismanagement has left the national electrical grid unable to supply reliable power, making families dependent on private generators that require expensive and scarce fuel. Many families fall into deep debt trying to pay for the cost of energy from 'generator mafias.' Today in Lebanon, mafia like gangs have a monopoly on private generators, the fuel to run them and the power lines to connect to them — making Lebanese and refugee families dependent on these gangs for any reliable electricity supply.
On top of this the current economic collapse in Lebanon as made energy matters worse for families. In response to these energy challenges, Anera has expanded and integrated solar energy more into its projects and programs.
>>> In partnership with UNICEF, Anera has expanded its vocational education program in Lebanon to respond to the energy crisis. This includes education courses on solar panels and solar energy system installation.
Meet Omar, a Syrian refugee and student in one of Anera's solar vocational courses in Lebanon.
Omar is a student in Anera's plumbing, solar and heating course. The 20-year-old Syrian fled his hometown with his family and now resides in Tripoli. Explaining why he chose to take the course, Omar says,
“I have always loved things related to solar energy and heating mechanisms. Ever since I came to Lebanon five years ago, I have been struggling to find something to study and and excel at. Now, I feel proud to be achieving my dream.”
Omar is optimistic about the future. “This course has opened many doors for my future. Zmerly & Co. have just hired me to be part of the solar and heating team!”
He one day wants to open his own business in Syria. “In a few years, I will be even more skilled than I am now. I will gain lots of experience to take with me back to my country.”
Omar hopes to use the skills he has learned to contribute to his adopted and native countries.
“Who knows, maybe what I learned here will impact the people in my country one day. After all, both Lebanon and Syria are in dire need of sustainable ways of generating power.”
>>> This recycling, composting and waste management facility that Anera built in Temnin El Foka, Lebanon is powered by solar energy. The waste facility provides much need municipal jobs while helping to tackle Lebanon's garbage crisis.
Anera vocational students installed the solar panels as part of their on-the-job training.
>>> Anera is also distributing small solar powered lights to refugee families who are without any power or light source.
Distributing Solar Lights in Lebanon
Darkness. This is reality for many families in Lebanon who live in impoverished areas, and especially in refugee camps and settlements where there is no formal connection to the electricity grid. To help make the lives of families in this situation a little easier, Anera has imported a shipment of Solight’s SolarPuff lights.