Jordan has launched a new project that will bring solar energy to 80.000 refugees in one of the country’s camps. A 12.9 MW PV plant has been installed near and connected to the camp, providing a reliable energy source for the Syrian inhabitants.
The conditions in refugee camps are dire, and clean water, food and electricity often scarce. Jordan wants to change this in one of the country’s major camps by creating a new energy source for it: a 12.9 MW PV plant has been installed near and connected to the camp, providing its 80.000 Syrian inhabitants with solar energy.
German government provided funds
The German government provided 17.5 million USD (15 million EUR) through the KfW Development Bank to fund the project, which was developed at the Za’atari refugee camp, located at the border between Jordan and Syria. The plant will provide energy for up to 14 hours a day, which allows the inhabitants to cover their basic needs, such as running fridges, fans and lights. This is a major improvement, as the electricity use was previously limited to six to eight hours a day after sunset, based upon the high costs for providing power.
New solution has various benefits
The benefits of the new solution are obvious: „[It] allows the children to continue their studies, and also (for) the safety of women and young girls to go about. Camp life will be made much easier,“ Stefano Severe, the UNHCR representative in Jordan, said.
So far, this is the largest project of its kind ever to have been developed in a refugee camp. It consists of 40.000 solar panels, arranged in rows on the outskirts of the camp. The panels cover an area roughly the size of 33 soccer pitches. Inhabitants of the camp were involved in the development process, allowing them to actively improve the living standards of the camp as well as acquire new and valuable skills.
The plant has an environmental as well as a financial benefit: carbon emissions will be reduced by over 13.000 tonnes a year (which is equivalent to 30.000 barrels of oil), and the UN Refugee Agency will save 5.5 million USD every year in running costs. These will be reinvested in humanitarian assistance.