This 1.5 MW solar PV project in Jericho was the largest solar energy installation in the West Bank, until now
We want to high five you whenever we hear news like this, news that trumps violence and despair: Two new large solar energy photovoltaic (PV)projects are being built in the West Bank with energy output totalling 17MW. The project is part of the Noor Palestine Program which is designed and implemented by the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF).
Msader for Energy Systems Co and ET Solutions International will build and oversee the solar energy installations.
With a total capacity of 17 Megawatts, the two projects will operate Jericho and Tubas by the end of 2018. These two PV plants will be connected to grid and to the Jerusalem Distribution Electricity Company and the Tubas Distribution Electricity Company. The two PV plants will cover the electricity needs of public facilities, factories, households and schools. Solar panels will be placed on top of the facilities.
Solar energy projects in Palestine have a strategic economic, social and political dimension, as they contribute to the creation of jobs for graduates and engineers working in the sector and also develop their skills. Also, electricity bills can be reduced by about 50% over the next 25 years.
Investing in such projects can also reduce the need to import electricity from the Israeli Government, which constitutes more than 80% of the electricity imported to Palestine. If the Palestinian Authority can produce its own power it can certainly be more proactive and stable in governing its future. And of course the issue of climate change and greenhouse gases is a meaningful one in the Middle East where temperatures are almost unlivable in some summer months.
Like Israel does, over half of all households in Palestine utilise solar energy heaters to heat their hot water. In Israel the tanks on the roofs are white, the West Bank they are black. The Jericho plant was commissioned in 2014, but it’s a tiny drop in the bucket to what is needed. Although a very high percentage of Palestinian houses are connected to the central grid, powering remote villages with smaller-scale photovoltaic systems (PV) would be much more feasible than extending the grid.
One of the local NGOs I know and have visited is Comet-ME, who along with the Dutch Government erected solar/diesel hybrid systems in the Palestinian village of Jubbet ad-Dib. They are constantly in conflict over building permits but continue to educate and install solutions for solar and water to those that need them most.