World’s largest solar plant built in a Jordanian refugee camp

Free electricity will become available to over 80,000 camp residents in Zaatari refugee camp thanks to the new solar facility.

Solar panels refugee camp INKLINE
© Kiran Jonnalagadda at Flickr

The world’s largest solar power plant built in a refugee camp was inaugurated on Monday after six months of construction. With its 40,000 solar panels, the solar facility was constructed in southern Mafraq, Jordan.

The 12.9-megawatt solar plant will allow the camp’s residents to extend their current 8 hours of access to power to 14, allowing children to have more time for homework but also to enhance street lighting which will maintain safety and security.

“Right now, we only have electricity from around six in the evening until three in the morning, and there are lots of things we need the power for: using the washing machine, charging our phones and watching TV. With access to electricity during the day, we can keep our kids inside by letting them watch TV; this will keep them from going out under the harsh sun and in sandstorms — getting sick,” said Tahani Husni Al Hajali, a five-year-resident of Zaatari from Daraa, Syria. 

The construction provided an opportunity for over 75 refugees to work alongside Jordanians in installing the solar facility allowing them to gain new skills and income for their families.

The 15-million-euro solar project, which has a lifespan of 25 years, was funded by the government of Germany through the German Development Bank (KfW), and later implemented with close cooperation with Jordan’s Ministry of Energy and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), said Birgitta Siefker-Eberle, German ambassador to Jordan.  

The plant with help of UNHCR will save an average of 5 million euros per year in electricity bills, an amount that could be redirected to expand other “critical activities that improve the lives of refugees in Jordan”, said UNHCR’s Representative to Jordan Stefano Severe.

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