December 20, 2023\
The role of the solar sector in Palestine has been of utmost importance in the decentralization of the electricity supply for several years. Referring to the yearly indicator from the Palestinian Electricity Regulatory Council (PERC), Palestine is heavily reliant on electricity imports, with more than 94% from the Israeli Electricity Company (IEC), and only 2% generated locally from different sources including renewables.

Consequently, the controlled supply of electricity (and of all energy resources) has led to suppressing the growing demand for electricity. Furthermore, this conditional electricity supplied to Palestine is not guaranteed and is highly subject to Israeli control. This is evident in many cities, most noticeable in Gaza, where electricity supply has been limited to an average of twelve to sixteen hours per day (inconsecutive hours) since the siege in 2007 and has been completely cut off since the start of the recent aggression.

This supply and demand gap is one of the main advantages for renewable electricity sources. However, the continued occupation of the Palestinian land is threatening the ability of developers to invest in any construction project. Renewables are also affected by the frequent daily blackouts, with very limited ability to develop and maintain electricity infrastructure on Palestinian land between cities and villages.

• In the face of geopolitical challenges, how has the current conflict in Palestine affected your service to people?

The Palestinian economy suffers dependency to the occupation in many forms. Recent escalation has further deepened these measures that impact our teams’ ability to conduct site visits, maintain application continuity, perform operation and maintenance tasks, and result in delays in the supply of solar components, especially considering that all shipments must be checked and cleared by Israel.

Additionally, there has been a significant increase in settler and soldier violence against workers involved in the construction of our upcoming power plant, Jamalla 7.5 MW. These power plants are often in the outskirts and more exposed to illegal settlements, with some located just a few kilometers away.

While Qudra does not have offices in Gaza, we responded to a request from The Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority (PENRA) to supply emergency 1 kWp PV kits to Gaza. Unfortunately, progress on this initiative has been delayed by restrictions imposed from the occupation. It is noteworthy that even before the recent cycle of aggression began, the process of transporting PV- related goods into Gaza faced significant restrictions, requiring additional customs fees and up to one month for approvals from the occupation before clearing shipments.

• How does the conflict impact the access to energy through solar in Palestine?

While Palestine demonstrates favorable parameters for solar projects, considering its geographical location and solar irradiation, a significant limitation arises due to the scarcity of available land. Approximately 90% of suitable land (excluding state-owned land) falls under areas B and C. These areas pose higher risks due to occupation approvals, settlement expansions, and aggression, thereby constraining our expansion capabilities in the West Bank.

On the other hand, in Gaza solar power has gained widespread popularity among households. It has become a primary source of energy, particularly due to the limited supply of electricity and its role as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to diesel generators. However, in the recent aggression, there has been a deliberate targeting of solar systems, undermining the basic electricity needs of Palestinians.

• What should be done in Palestine’s solar sector to support security and environmental sustainability for the public?

Palestine, like the rest of the world, is thriving for the revolution of renewable energy. The energy case in Palestine is one of the most challenging models that can escalate developments in sustainable, economic, and independent sources of electricity. There is great potential in terms of solar irradiance and wind resources, and there is a need for smart, islanding microgrids that can satisfy the growing demand on electricity consumption.

Palestine demonstrates a clear case for the advantages of the electricity decentralization strategy. The energy infrastructure requires transformations that align with the economic needs as well as the global efforts to combat climate change and decarbonization. Our role in leading this transformation includes financing and operating several utility scale solar assets with the vision of satisfying the electricity deficit sustainably and economically.