by Naharnet Newsdesk


U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea announced Friday the launch of a $20 million Solar & Renewable Energy Fund at an event in the presence of Minister of Industry George Bouchikian, Minister of Energy and Water Dr Walid Fayad, Minister of Environment Dr Nasser Yassin, USAID Lebanon Acting Mission Director Nicholas Vivio, investors, and local enterprises.

The fund, created by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) Activity and Lebanon Investment Initiative (LII), will unlock private sector investments to finance the cost of solar panel installations for Lebanese entities, the U.S. embassy in Lebanon said.

“This fund is not our first intervention in response to Lebanon’s energy crisis, and it will not be the last. Since 2012, the United States Government, through USAID, has been providing affordable and renewable back-up electricity to homes and businesses,” said Shea.

“We are confident that Lebanese businesses and investors will see this opportunity as a chance to capitalize on the energy fund to support Lebanon’s economy, the viability of domestic businesses, the jobs of hundreds of Lebanese, and their belief in a cleaner and more productive tomorrow,” she added.

“This fund is the first seed to help catalyze clean and sustainable energy financing in Lebanon,” said Mark Rostal, the TIF project’s Chief of Party. “We hope this initiative will draw in more investment in renewable energy in Lebanon, and consequently support the recovery and relaunch of Lebanese businesses that have long suffered, risked closure and layoffs due to the prolonged energy crisis.”

USAID, through TIF and LII, committed $4 million in seed funding and $500,000 to structure the fund. With investors pitching in, the fund will raise up to $20 million, the embassy said in a statement.

It added that securing investment for renewable energy through the Solar & Renewable Energy Fund will sustain production operations for SMEs in need, thus increasing their export capacity, which in turn positions Lebanon as an important export hub. “Moreover, the fund will also support the livelihoods of households by sustaining the jobs of those working in affected institutions. Up to 25 entities will benefit from the Solar & Renewable Energy Fund in the first round of funding opportunities,” the statement said.

“The current situation calls for measures, and this is where we come into play. With the support of USAID, Berytech along with IM Ventures are committed to creating sustainable ways of living,” said Maroun N. Chammas, President of Berytech Foundation. “Now, the starting point is to implement the Solar & Renewable Energy Fund which will provide Lebanese companies with power supply at a lower cost, increasing energy efficiency,” he added.