China steps in to fill US solar void in the occupied territories

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Solar developers in the West Bank are looking to China to drive PV development in the occupied territory amid fears the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump will not be sympathetic to the Palestinian cause or renewable energy, according to a prominent Palestinian developer.

Abdelnaser Dwaikat, MD of Msader for Energy System, told pv magazine the U.S. government’s USAID program is backing a Palestine Energy Project (PEP) pilot scheme to install a 230 kW PV system for the Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron, but said solar developers have been keeping a low profile regarding the organization of late.

“This project was signed before the declaration of the relocation of the U.S. embassy,” said Mr Dwaikat, referring to President Trump’s incendiary decision to relocate the Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move which sparked mass protests by Palestinian protesters along the wall that separates Palestine from Israel. “After this declaration [regarding the Israeli embassy], the Palestinian Energy Project is working on a low level as we are afraid that we will have no support from the USA government, and the people and contractors are a bit afraid of dealing with USA agencies in Palestine.”

China, however, is helping to fill the void by investing in a 30 MW solar project near Hebron City that will supply power to critical infrastructure including hospitals and schools, with the project in its preparatory phase.

And Mr Dwaikat says his company, which claims to be the biggest solar EPC in Palestine, is proceeding with an 18 MW PV scheme backed by the Palestine Investment Bank that will supply power to private companies and factories.