The Italian government has recently funded a project in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip which includes the establishment of a solar-powered kindergarten.
The solar panels installed on the roof of Umm al-Nasser kindergarten, trap energy from the sun which generates electricity enough to power the school’s lighting and electric-run machines the entire day.
Naheda Khail, project coordinator at Vento di Terra in Gaza explained that solar energy is both cost-efficient and environmentally friendly.
Umm al-Nasser kindergarten consists of eight classrooms and serves 150 children from the local Bedouin community.
Ibrahim Sharayha, an engineer, said there are two energy converters on site to ensure continual electricity supply.
“The school uses alternative power. It gives around 10 kilowatts of electricity. We have two convertors, each one produces 5 kilowatts. Near the school, there is mosque which also uses the same kind of alternative energy that gives it approximately 24 hours of electricity,” she said.
Kindergarten headmistress Fatma Abu Rashed said that the school doesn’t need to rely on intermittent electricity due to the consistent supply from solar energy.
This isn’t the first solar energy project in Gaza aided by the Italian government. 5 out of 15 intensive care units in Gaza’s Shifa hospital are powered by the sun.
Years of Israeli-imposed blockades on Gaza along with internal Palestinian political strife meant fuel had to be smuggled from Egypt via underground border tunnels.
However, power blackouts prevailed over the Strip earlier this year, after Egypt placed pressure on fuel smuggling into the Hamas-ruled enclave through the tunnels as it was suspected that illegal weaponry was also being transported.
The blackouts which affect many of 1.7 million residents have prompted solar energy-based projects to deal with the inconvenience and cater to the local community.
A Japanese-funded solar plant is currently under construction in the West Bank town of Jericho, which aims to supply 20,000 residents with solar-powered electricity upon its completion.