The Azraq Syrian refugee camp in Jordan will soon be home to new solar farm that will meet the needs of the 27,000 Syrian refugees currently living there.
In a joint project between Ikea and the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign aims to provide refugees around the world with solar lanterns. The “lanterns allow girls and boys to study after dark” and “refugees to continue income generating activities after dark, such as buying and selling goods, providing technical service, or running cooperatives and businesses.” The campaign is also providing solar street lights to “enable more community gatherings and socialising after the sun goes down.”
The third phase of the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign will consist of the construction of a 6 MW, grid-connected solar farm at the Azraq Syrian refugee camp. This will alleviate over a years’ worth of electricity challenges that has been the normal living condition for those forced out of their homes and into the Azraq Syrian refugee camp, and has impacted everything from lighting to water collecting or going to the toilet.
“People tell us it will make a huge difference to them just to be able to switch a light on again, making them feel more at home,” said Paul Quickley, the UNHCR Energy Adviser who is helping to manage the project.
“Without the funding provided by the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign, we wouldn’t have been able to put in place such a sustainable, long-term energy solution. With dramatically reduced electricity costs, it will also mean that money we would have spent on providing power to the camp can be used for humanitarian projects.”
Providing solar lighting to those who are being displaced represents not just a great humanitarian act, but also a remarkable sales pitch for the role renewable energy technologies like solar can have for those who have very little. Developing countries around the globe will soon begin to see themselves facing situations caused by a warming planet — rising sea levels, droughts, an increase in dangerous storms — and renewable energy technologies will play an important role in adaptation, survival, and restoration.
Image Credit: via Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign & United Nations Refugee Agency Twitter account