The World Bank began a program in which it will be installing solar panels on Gaza residents’ roofs as a partial solution to the Gaza Strip’s electricity crisis. Estimates indicate that the panels will be able to supply at least 150 megawatts of power to Gaza.
New rooftop solar panel system in Gaza Photo Credit: Hussein al-Nabiya
The World Bank is teaming with the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company and the Palestinian Energy Authority for a trial program that will install solar rooftop systems with a megawatt output for one thousand consumers in the Gaza Strip. The program’s initial cost will be $2.5 million, as part of a larger program that will end up costing $11 million and will be funded by the World Bank and a multi-donor trust fund called Development Partners.
A new World Bank study called “Securing energy for development in West Bank and Gaza” determines that more than 150 megawatts of solar energy can be produced for the Gaza Strip. The Gaza power plant’s maximum output is 140 megawatts when in reality, it rarely produces more than 60 megawatts due to high diesel fuel prices.
While rooftop solar energy may not solve Gaza’s power consumption problem, which according to the study is expected to reach 900 megawatts by 2030, estimates do indicate that solar energy will significantly contribute to an increase in daily power supply. Furthermore, the solar energy will help ensure life-saving health care, connect communication systems, improve the water supply, provide proper wastewater treatment, and ensure that the consumers remain connected to electricity even if part of the network is damaged during another operation or war.
As reported by JOL in June, Gaza’s electricity prior to the crisis was provided by the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, who paid for the bills and announced that it would stop paying, leading to fears of escalated violence and a sever humanitarian crisis within the Gaza Strip. As of June, Gaza was short 15 million NIS per month following the Palestinian Authority’s decision to reduce the amount of power provided to Gaza, which was approved by the Israeli Security Cabinet.