By Maria Weldali – Nov 26,2019 –

During 2019, 28 mosques in Aqaba Qasabah District transitioned to relying on alternative energy sources, according to the Head of Aqaba Awqaf Directorate Fares Jawazna (Al Rai photo)

AMMAN — The Aqaba Awqaf Directorate has completed the initial stage of equipping Aqaba mosques with solar panels, as part of a comprehensive integrated strategy to harness solar energy to save on electricity bills and reduce fuel consumption.

“Awqaf Directorate in Aqaba is the first in the Kingdom to convert solar energy into electricity in its mosques, with the aim of reducing the vast amounts of energy consumption by taking firm steps towards fully achieving the goals of the conversion strategy,” Head of Aqaba Awqaf Directorate Fares Jawazna told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

Jawazna said that, during 2019, 28 mosques in Aqaba Qasabah District have begun relying on alternative energy, which is “cost-effective and has many environmental and economic benefits.”

He added that, by the end of 2020 and with the support of Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), 55 mosques will employ alternative energy.

ASEZA has contributed JD300,000 to achieve the objectives of the alternative energy plan, allowing savings on electricity to be utilised in support of Awqaf’s programmes, which focus on helping needy families and students and maintaining mosques, according to Jawazna.

“So far, ASEZA has spent JD200,000 in 2019, and the remainder of the sum will be given next year, in order to continue with the project, lowering energy bills in some mosques to JD40 instead of JD3,000 per month,” he added.

The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs is responsible for paying the energy bills, he said.

The directorate chief highlighted the “high level of cooperation” of ASEZA President Nayif Bakhit and ASEZA Secretary General Mahmoud Khleifat, given their “continuous efforts” in supporting the project, in addition to their role in finalising issues related to Waqf lands.

“Technical and advisory committees have been formed to complete the Waqf lands concern, and the estimated value of lands that were not registered as Waqf lands was JD8.5 million,” Jawazna noted.

The directorate has taken part in many events, campaigns and initiatives, Jawazna said, adding that it won first place in a campaign stemming from the “Jordan Nakhwa” initiative, and has contributed in meeting humanitarian and financial needs, he said.