(MENAFN - Palestine News Network ) Supplying affordable rooftop solar system to households, businesses and hospitals
The Palestinian Energy Authority and the World Bank launched today the Gaza Solar Revolving Fund, a pilot aiming to install rooftop solar energy in Gaza for residential consumers, businesses and hospitals. The pilot model allows consumers to apply to the revolving fund for solar PV systems, with the cost repaid in monthly installments into the revolving fund.
This Fund is financed through the Electricity Sector Performance Improvement Project (ESPIP), developed in cooperation with the the World Bank. The agreement for the new business model was signed between the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority (PENRA) and the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. (GEDCO). The launching event was attended by donor representatives, local and international NGOs, ministries, representatives from the banking sector and DEDCO.
The available power supply in Gaza meets only a small portion (35%) of the overall demand resulting in rolling blackouts with less than 6 hours of electricity supply followed by 12 hours of power cuts. During winter and summer peak load conditions, the situation deteriorates, and power is only available 3-4 hours per day. This recurrent situation is disrupting lives and livelihoods in Gaza.
'The Gaza Strip has been suffering from a severe electricity crisis for years, affecting all sectors in Gaza. It is vital to reach a comprehensive solution; however, this initiative will provide a relief to many citizens in Gaza and allow continuation of critical services. We will work hand in hand with our partners to secure and increase access to reliable and affordable energy,' said Engineer Zafer Milhem, PENRA Chairman.
'Increasing solar system installations in Gaza, particularly for households and hospitals, will provide a much-needed safety net for meeting basic electricity needs. In addition, protecting small medium enterprises from electricity shortage is increasing their ability to provide more jobs and contribute to economic activities,' said Marina Wes, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.
The Gaza Solar Revolving Fund initially devotes $2 million to help over one thousand households and businesses to install small solar rooftop systems for a total of around 1.7 MW installed capacity. These consumers repay the cost of the solar PV system in monthly installments until the system is paid off. These payments will return to a revolving fund that will be used to install more solar systems and benefit others in Gaza. Today's launch initiates the application process for households and small-medium sized enterprises.
The program will also include grant for providing rooftop solar systems to essential public services in Gaza, such as health facilities, one of which is An Nasser hospital. These health facilities will receive grant and they will be selected in coordination with WHO, Ministry of Health and development partners.
Improving energy security in Gaza with solar energy and the ESPIP are co-financed by the Partnership for Infrastructure Development Multi-Donor Trust Fund. 'Energy security challenges are already severe in Gaza. Scaling-up solar energy will strengthen energy security. Donors hope that this model provides sustainable alternative and could be easily replicated and rapidly scaled up, particularly in Gaza,' said Hilde Haraldstad, the Representative of Norway to the Palestinian Authority.
For the Gaza Strip, the rooftop solar PV power could have a huge impact considering the critical shortage of electricity, allowing hospitals to continue lifesaving treatments, businesses to operate, and households to maintain decent life.