Dead Sea PV plant brings affordable energy to Palestinian households

There are few locations in the world where energy security is an issue more keenly felt than in Palestinian East Jerusalem, which relies almost entirely on Israeli power.

Although the exact status of the eastern Arabic section of the divided city is in dispute, the dependence of thousands of Palestinian households on Israeli power is not a matter of debate, according to Abdelnaser Dwaikat, managing director of Palestinian solar developer Msader for Energy System.

“The residents of the old city of East Jerusalem, already suffering from poverty and marginalization, are obliged to pay an electricity tariff approximately 15% higher than that paid by the Israeli population,” Dwaikat told pv magazine.

It was that situation that prompted the Future for Palestine organization, led by Salam Fayyad, former prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority, to commit to pay ILS 200,000 ($60,000) per month to the Israeli Electricity utility to subsidize 25% of the energy bills of 5,000 needy households. But the opening of the 710 kW first phase of a planned 1.5 MW solar farm near the ancient city of Jericho last month has already reduced the financial burden on the donor organization.

Future for Palestine funded the $1 million solar project – at 258 meters below sea level, the lowest on earth – and already has seen its monthly energy bill subsidy program expense come in to just $15,000.

The Dead Sea Photovoltaic Generating Plant project, Palestine’s largest, was developed by Dwaikat’s Msader and incorporates 13 Powador 60.0 TL3 inverters from German company Kaco New Energy.

With domestic manufacturers in Gaza and the West Bank producing 24,000 solar water heaters per year and around 70% of homes having such systems, Dwaikat told pv magazine the second phase of the Dead Sea project will start soon and the potential for solar in Palestine is huge.

“There is a huge potential for investment in solar energy,” he added, “and the Palestinian Energy Authority is dedicated to the sector.”