The Arzaq camp for Syrian refugees has got a 2-megawatt photo voltaic plant, thus becoming the world’s first clean energy refugee camp. On May 17, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) switched on to this new initiative. The camp is exactly at the centre of a deserted Jordan city, a very unlikely place for innovations.

This two megawatt solar plant will provide electricity to the refugees living in the camp. There are a total of 20,000 Syrian refugees currently living in the camp.

According to the UNHCR report, once the solar plant is upgraded from 2 to 5 MW, sustainable electricity would be provided to another 15,000 people.

Jordanian firm Mustakbal, meaning ‘future’ in Arabic, built this facility and has assured that the solar plant will provide 3.6 million kilowatt hours per year and will save approximately 2,370 tonne of carbon-dioxide emissions, which is almost equivalent to the carbon sequestration by 65,568 trees grown for 10 years.

The Arzaq camp was opened in April 2014 and is situated in a desert, some 100 km east of the capital of Amman.

In a report on dw.com, the UNHCR said that until recently, the camp’s residents had only sporadic access to electricity. “This made daily activities difficult, such as cooking, washing the clothes, studying, walking safely to the washroom at night — especially for women and children,” the UNHCR said.

Um Nasser, who fled to Jordan from the Syrian city of Homs, told DW, “Now, it’s so wonderful that we have electricity all day, every day.”

“Can you imagine what it has been like for me, having 10 children who cannot study or do their homework in the evening because of lack of lighting?” she asked. “Often, they had to sleep very early because there was nothing else they could do.”

This power plant will be a boon for Jordan to reduce its foreign dependence on energy and fuel supplies.

Image Credit: UNHCR

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