- Title: World's first refugee camp powered by renewable energy
- Date: 25th May 2017
- Summary: VARIOUS OF AHMED'S CHILDREN WATCHING TV MORE OF THE CHILDREN WATCHING TV AHMED'S DAUGHTER WATCHING TV
- Embargoed: 8th June 2017 10:21
- Keywords: Jordan Azraq Syria renewables solar camp refugee
- Location: AZRAQ, JORDAN
- City: AZRAQ, JORDAN
- Country: Jordan
- Topics: Science
- Reuters ID: LVA0026IC6UL7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Nights in the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan are no longer pitch-black, thanks to a newly inaugurated solar plant that will provide electricity and light to more than 20,000 Syrian refugees living there.
Opened in 2014, Azraq is the second largest Syrian refugee camp in the country. The camp is located 100km east of Amman and 20km west of the town of Azraq in the Zarqa Governorate.
The solar plant will provide renewable energy to a population that has lived for more than two years without reliable access to electricity.
This has presented many challenges to the camp residents, with daily activities such as washing clothes, preserving food or studying becoming increasingly challenging without a power source.
"It means the world to refugees that obviously are here in the camp, that didn't have access to electricity in a dependable way, it means lighting for safety, for protection at night, for some cool in terms of a fan on a hot summer's day, or some heat in the winter during the cold months," said Kelly T. Clements, UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner.
The project, funded by the IKEA Foundation's Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign, resulted in a 2-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) farm, which lit up the streets of the camps, creating a safer environment for children and adults alike at night.
Farhan Nazzal, a Syrian refugee living in the camp, said he is no longer worried about leaving his home after dark.
"Now that we have electricity we can go to our neighbour's house, enjoy the evening, or our neighbours can come over, it is more enjoyable, we have fun and are happier," he said.
Another refugee, Anas Ahmed, said he now savours simple moments like watching television with his children, or sipping a glass of cool water.
"[A lot] has changed, to begin with students, for example my children can now study with lights on. Secondly it was very hot in the caravan, now I have a fan. We also have a fridge now, so we have cool water and can preserve our food," he said.
According to a statement by the UNHCR, the solar farm will result in immediate savings of $1.5 million per year. It will also reduce CO2 emissions by 2,370 tons per year.
The construction of the plant has also provided work opportunities for some 50 refugees, who were trained and employed to build and set up the solar panels. Some Syrians will continue to work on maintaining and operating the plant, the statement said.
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