Palestine launches rooftop PV pilot program in Gaza

The World Bank is partnering with the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company and the Palestinian Authority to launch a $2.5 million pilot program for the development of grid-connected rooftop PV solutions in Gaza, Palestine.

According to the United Nations Climate Action Programme, 1,000 PV systems with a power of 1 kW each will be installed in critical areas under the program. The World Bank stressed that the pilot program is designed to be rapidly scalable, aiming to trigger private investment for further growth.

“The initiative will help ensure lifesaving health treatments, link telecommunication systems, improve water supply, bring adequate sewage treatment, enable business development – and most importantly, ensure consumers remain connected to electricity, even if a subsection of the grid is damaged during armed conflict”, said Sara Badiei, energy specialist at World Bank.

Overall, the World Bank and the trust fund Development partners are providing $11 milllion to solve the ongoing energy crisis in Gaza, which started in May when the Palestinian Authority announced that it would stop paying for Gaza’s imported electricity from Israel. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israel reduced its power supply by 40% in late June, and the UN is now coordinating the distribution of emergency fuel to 186 critical facilities.

Palestine and the Gaza Strip have been suffering from electricity shortages in the past decade and solar energy may represent a strategic asset for the troubled Middle Eastern region, independently from its current energy crisis.

In late July, on the other hand, Turkish energy company Zorlu Energy, a unit of Turkey-based industrial conglomerate Zorlu, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Palestinian utility Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO), which provides 30% of households in West Bank and East Jerusalem with electricity, for the construction of an unspecified number of solar plants.