Municipal Development Program – MDP II – Phase II
Solar Energy Project at the Municipality of Baqa al-Sharqiya & Nazlat
It comes as no surprise that Palestine is scarce in natural resources and mineral wealth. This fact is perhaps most obvious in lack of traditional energy resources such as oil and gas. In Palestine, both commodities are also higher in prices if compared to their prices across the world. As a result of this matter, and to overcome the scarcity problem faced by the Palestinian people, finding renewable and alternative energy sources was the answer especially pilot projects funded through the Municipal Development and Lending Fund, namely the pilot project for connecting municipal networks with solar power using photovoltaic panels.
There is no doubt that the Palestinian approach to rely more on renewable energy sources is currently in line with the growing global trend to exploit alternative energy sources. One of the projects carried out In Palestine for the exploitation of solar energy for the generation of electricity using PV panels in the municipality of Baqa al-Sharqiya and Nazlat by installing a solar system in the capacity of 5kW, which contains 16 solar panels that were installed following the highest standards and safety procedures.
Indeed, during the first year after the installation and operation of the system )which was the beginning of May of 2015 ( , the system successfully produced 10,2 0 0kW from the station with an average of 28kW per day (which was predicted in the feasibility study of the project conducted before implementation). 6,300kW of solar cells were directly consumed, while 3,900kW were stored (during non-working hours or holidays). 17.400kW were consumed from the electricity network, meaning that the amount of electricity produced at the municipality of network was 13,500kW. The ratio of the amount produced from solar cells for consumption during the first year was 43%, slightly less than the forecasted 50% consumption levels mostly due to the increasing reliance on electricity especially for cooling purposes. An amount of 1500 USD were saved for the benefit of the municipality, this was the price of electricity saved during the first year of installation of the system. Currently, the municipality wants to increase the capacity of the system installed at the municipality building, and hopes to be able to install similar systems for other municipal buildings.
Currently, the municipality is trying to encourage its citizens to install PV panels and make use of clean solar power, a step that is expected to increase savings on their total electricity bills bearing in mind that the system produces the cost of its installation during the first six years. The average age of the cells exceeds 20 years if treated with care and provided with maintenance. The example of the municipality of Baqa al-Sharqiya and Nazlat marks the beginning of a real success story in the field of solar energy which can and should be replicated at other municipalities.