On October 10th, the World Bank officially launched Gaza Solar Revolving Fund, a pilot project with the Palestinian Energy Authority to install rooftop solar in Gaza for residential consumers, businesses, and hospitals.
Under the project, a consumer can apply for the revolving fund for solar PV systems. The cost will be repaid via monthly installments back into the revolving fund.
The Gaza Solar Revolving Fund has received an initial amount of $2 million to help over one thousand households and businesses to install small solar rooftop systems for a total of approximately 1.7 MW installed capacity. As the consumers repay the cost of the solar PV systems in monthly installment, those payments will be returned to the revolving fund to be used to install more solar systems.
This fund is financed through the Electricity Sector Performance Improvement Project (ESPIP), developed in cooperation with the World Bank. The agreement for the new business model was signed between the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority (PENRA) and the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. (GEDCO).
“The Gaza Strip has been suffering from a severe electricity crisis for years, affecting all sectors in Gaza. It is vital to reach a comprehensive solution; however, this initiative will provide relief to many citizens in Gaza and allow continuation of critical services” said Engineer Zafer Milhem, PENRA Chairman, in a statement.
Currently, Gaza’s power supply meets only 35 percent of its overall demand, according to the press release issued by the World Bank. This results in rolling blackouts with fewer than 6 hours of electricity supply followed by 12 hours of power cuts. The condition worsens during winter and summer peak load conditions, when power is only available for 3-4 hours per day.
“Increasing solar system installations in Gaza, particularly for households and hospitals, will provide a much-needed safety net for meeting basic electricity needs. In addition, protecting small medium enterprises from electricity shortage is increasing their ability to provide more jobs and contribute to economic activities,” said Marina Wes, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.
The World Bank has been a frontrunner in the promotion of clean energy technologies. Mercom reported recently that the World Bank approved $55 million in financing to expand the use of renewable energy in rural areas of Bangladesh that grid electricity cannot easily reach.
In June 2018, it has promised over $500 million for two renewable energy projects in Sindh, Pakistan. The projects would help in the development of an economic corridor along the Khyber Pass and are expected to accelerate economic activities between Pakistan and Afghanistan.