A new 0.5 megawatt solar plant has reached completion in the Gaza Strip. The clean energy project will help power a local desalination plant in the area, providing clean drinking water to 75,000 people.
Further planned investments in the plant will help reach it 250,000 people in southern Gaza by 2020.
Both the solar field and water plant have been funded by the European Union as part of its long-term development programme in Palestine. A further 10 million euros is being made to improve both the efficiency and rehabilitation of water infrastructure across the entire region.
Gaza suffers from serious levels of water insecurity with 97 percent of water not suitable for human consumption. This has been exacerbated by years of conflict and an ongoing blockade imposed on the strip by Israel and Egypt.
Johannes Hahn, the EU commissioner for neighbouring countries, commented: “Limited energy supplies in Gaza are one of the main challenges when improving access to safe and drinkable water to the local population. The photovoltaic solar field is essential to respond to the urgent water needs in Gaza and create dignified living conditions for its people, thus mitigating tensions in a highly conflict sensitive area.”
The project forms part of a wider ambition to supply all 2 million people living in Gaza with clean drinking water. Local people currently rely on a coastal aquifer for water, but demand is three times greater than existing capacity.
To combat the drastic situation, the EU has helped mobilise 456 million euros to support the new Gaza Central Desalination Plant. An estimated 100 million euros more is needed to cover anticipated costs. If successful, it will become the largest ever infrastructure project in the region.