A new project to finance off-grid solar systems in Yemen has been announced today by the World Bank. It has been funded through the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries, with $50 million.
When complete, the project will power vital basic services, while improving electrification for vulnerable rural and urban Yemenis communities.
The World Bank has stated that solar PV has proven to be the most efficient immediate solution for severe energy shortages in Yemen. A booming solar industry has developed through the private sector, however the costs of the technology have often been out of the reach of public facilities and the most vulnerable populations.
According to preliminary estimates, over 300 MW of PV power generators have been installed in Yemen since the war began in 2015.
In addition to financing and delivering off-grid solar systems to rural and peri-urban areas with the goal of improving or restoring electricity to 1.4 million people, the funds will also be used for the new construction of key infrastructure, and for reconstruction projects, such as hospitals, schools, water corporations and rural electricity providers.
“The lack of electricity in Yemen has had a devastating impact on Yemenis and the provision of services,” said Dr. Asad Alam, World Bank Group Country Director for Yemen, Egypt, and Djibouti. “While responding to immediate need, the project will contribute to building a more inclusive and sustainable solar market in Yemen through targeted financing to the private sector which will expand its reach to the poor and vulnerable,” he added.
The World Bank will be implementing the project in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which in turn will work with the private sector, including Micro Finance Institutions, solar equipment suppliers and technicians. Overall, thousands of jobs are expected to be created.
“Investing in solar will make Yemen’s electricity more resilient, reduce the dependence on fuels for critical service facilities, and create jobs in the private sector,” said Joern Torsten Huenteler, World Bank Energy Specialist and Task Team Leader of the project. “What Yemenis need today more than ever is a quick and innovative energy solutions to help ease the crisis.”