Electricity-starved Gazans turn to sun for help

July 7, 2016 by Sakher Abou El Oun
A growing number of Gazans fed up with their erratic electricity supply are turning to solar power in an area where the sun shines for the vast majority of the year

Nahed Abu Assi's farm has been bombed in each of the three Gaza wars since 2008 and like in the rest of the Palestinian enclave, he receives only a paltry amount of electricity each day.

With his chickens dying and the cost of using generators high, Assi now hopes to do as others have done in Gaza—if he can find a loan to pay for it: install .

"The electricity is cut for hours every day," the balding 52-year-old said.

"You have to connect to generators that cost a lot to fuel and that need regular repairs to keep the lamps and the livestock fans running around the clock."

A growing number of Gazans fed up with their erratic electricity supply are turning to solar power in an area where the sun shines for the vast majority of the year.

Grey and black solar panels are increasingly visible on rooftops.

Stores and adverts promoting such technology have also expanded, and authorities in the enclave running by the Islamist movement Hamas are also turning to solar power.

"Schools, hospitals and public institutions have been equipped with solar panels and other projects have been launched to at least try to partially resolve the electricity crisis," said Raid Abu al-Hajj, head of the solar energy unit in the strip's energy authority.

Some 10,000 homes could soon be equipped with .

Gaza and its population of 1.9 million people has only one electricity plant and it has been damaged by wars with Israel

The option is not cheap. Assi expects to fork out between 4,500 and 5,400 euros ($5,000 to $6,000) for panels, but he says the investment will pay off over time.

Gaza and its population of 1.9 million people has only one and it has been damaged by wars with Israel, the most devastating of which was fought in the summer of 2014.

It imports electricity from Israel and Egypt, but those supplies are not nearly enough.

Electricity demand is estimated at 450 megawatts, but only 250 are available: 27 percent from Israel, 22 percent provided by Gaza's own plant and six percent by Egypt.

Safe alternative

Israel has maintained a blockade on the Gaza Strip for around a decade, saying its aim is to keep out materials that Hamas could use for military purposes.

But Gazans—half of whom live below the poverty line—are now being allowed to import solar panels and prices have gradually come down, Hajj said.

Those taking advantage include Daoud Tarazi, who decided to equip his home and his petrol station with solar panels.

He said it was "no longer possible to work with 18 hours of electricity cuts per day" at his station, he said.

Despite an Israeli blockade, Gazans—half of whom live below the poverty line—are now being allowed to import solar panels

At home, where he receives 12 hours of electricity per day, "food spoils in the refrigerator and electronic equipment always breaks down".

With the panels, his bills have fallen since he no longer has to operate generators.

Beyond that, solar power does not pollute and he no longer has to deal with days without .

"There are only five or six days per year without sun in Gaza," he said.

Solar panels also provide a safer alternative to the dangers of generators and candles, said Mohammed Atallah, a businessman and member of a renewable energy organisation that has installed solar panels for street lights for roads traversing the Gaza Strip.

Health officials say explosions and fires from generators and candles have caused the deaths of 24 people in recent years, most of them children.

But despite the recent spike in interest, remains only a tiny part of the energy mix in the Gaza Strip—amounting to around three megawatts, said Hajj.

"But within three years, we hope to reach 15 megawatts," he said.

Explore further: Red Cross brings solar panels to Gaza clinics

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11 comments

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Gigel
3 / 5 (6) Jul 07, 2016
Maybe some guys should stop firing missiles from around a certain country, so that country may not be forced to bomb around it. Just saying...
Eikka
5 / 5 (5) Jul 07, 2016
Maybe some guys should stop firing missiles from around a certain country, so that country may not be forced to bomb around it. Just saying...


If it was up to Israel, they would simply bulldoze the place to the ground and move their borders that much more.
gkam
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 07, 2016
Willie wants them to spend $8,000,000,000 on a nuke. It'll be ready in about 15-20 years.

Joking aside, we now have the technology to support ourselves. All we have to do is rid ourselves of the conservatives who constantly look for war, and the rich "businessmen" who will do anything to anybody for money.
gkam
1.7 / 5 (10) Jul 07, 2016
"Maybe some guys should stop firing missiles from around a certain country, so that country may not be forced to bomb around it."
-----------------------------
Maybe the disgusting and self-righteous people who stole the land could just give it back.
Estevan57
4.1 / 5 (9) Jul 07, 2016
Well, gkam how far would you go back? The country has only been controlled by
Persians, Hellenistic dynasty, Hasmonean dynasty, Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire. Various Caliphates, Some Crusaders, Mamluk dynasty, Ottomans, British, and more.

The world, its countries, people and political boundaries have always been in flux. To state someone "stole the land" is almost an impossible thing to say without being hypocritical.

You live in California. Should you give it back to Spain? Mexico? The Indians?
YOU are a disgusting and self-righteous people who stole the land and should just give it back.

And a Jew hater bigot.

Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 18, 2016
Well, gkam how far would you go back? The country has only been controlled by
Persians, Hellenistic dynasty, Hasmonean dynasty, Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire. Various Caliphates, Some Crusaders, Mamluk dynasty, Ottomans, British, and more.

The world, its countries, people and political boundaries have always been in flux. To state someone "stole the land" is almost an impossible thing to say without being hypocritical.

You live in California. Should you give it back to Spain? Mexico? The Indians?
YOU are a disgusting and self-righteous people who stole the land and should just give it back.

And a Jew hater bigot
@Estevan57
if only i could give you 1000 stars for that one
EPIC smackdown
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Jul 18, 2016
"YOU are a disgusting and self-righteous people who stole the land and should just give it back."
--------------------------------------

I did not STEAL it, like the Israelis did, and asre still doing.

It is conservatism of the worse kind, religious conservatism. Heads off, anybody? Burning at the stake for Christ, anybody?. They are all alike.

Yeah, I know, you are going to harass my family, like you threatened.
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 18, 2016
@STOLEN VALOR liar-kam
Yeah, I know, you are going to harass my family, like you threatened
i can provide at least 5 threads where you do the exact same thing to myself alone on PO... where you ask for my wife's e-mail address (and my bosses e-mail) because you want to harass them (and me)...

so quit whining when someone turns the tables on you and uses your own techniques back at ya, joanne
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Jul 18, 2016
Outgrow your need to get even with me. You can do it.

Maybe you can't.Maybe that is the reason you hide not only behind a phony name, but in the woods, with no electric service, too SCARED to face us. You bleat nasty words, but always stay hidden, cowering.

Give it up. I am real,and you are not. Simple as that. Internet anonymous cowards are the lowest form of artificial life.

Let's get back to the issues of the thread.
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Jul 18, 2016
Let's get back to how we can avoid large central powerplants in the future and be more self-sufficient.
Estevan57
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 18, 2016
Saddest attempt at a sockpuppet the comments section has ever seen, George. Really.

By the way, I have never said I would harass your family. I said I would contact your wife and inform her of what type of person you are becoming online. That is not the same.

If you want to keep repeating the same harassment lie, you can, but it shows a remarkable lack of character.

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