Jordan's Zaatari camp opens largest solar plant of its kind


Published: 2017-11-13 17:52

Last Updated: 2017-11-13 19:23

The new solar plant in Zaatari camp. (Twitter)
The new solar plant in Zaatari camp. (Twitter)
Roya News Source

Thousands of Syrian refugees will be lighting up their homes with solar energy this evening, after Jordan's Zaatari camp has gone green with the largest solar plant to ever be built in a refugee camp.

Funded by the Federal Government of Germany through KfW Development Bank, the 15 million Euro solar farm will provide free and clean energy to 80,000 Syrian refugees and the host community.

Jordanians and Syrians reportedly worked together to install over 40,000 panels over a period of six months, reducing CO2 emissions by over 13,000 tons per year. The plant will also help UNHCR save over 4 million JODs in electricity bills per year.

Access to electricity has been one of the main challenges faced by camp residents, making daily activities difficult. Families have reportedly been forced to engage in unsafe practices to bring electricity to their shelters, and faced intermittent cuts as power was not enough.

The new solar plant is expected the ease family living conditions and improve the safety and security of camp residents, increasing the provision of electricity to refugees’ homes from the current 8 hours up to 14 hours.

The new boost in electricity will also help to facilitate the storage of food and allow children longer hours to do their homework at the camp.

“Innovative projects such as this one are key to responding to the needs of a population facing long-term displacement. The opening of this solar plant represents a milestone for Zaatari camp residents as it will have a positive impact on their daily lives” emphasized Stefano Severe, UNHCR Representative to Jordan.

“I would like to sincerely thank the Government of Germany and its citizens, for bringing sustainable and affordable energy to Syrian refugees in Jordan,” he added.

Zaatari camp opened its doors in 2012 in response to the mass exodus of refugees coming across the Syrian-Jordanian border at the onset of the conflict, hosting at its peak over 120,000 refugees.

However, while the camp's new solar plant is the biggest of its kind in a refugee setting, it is not the first.  Earlier this year, Jordan’s Azraq camp become the first refugee camp in the world to be powered by renewable energy.