Country’s first private solar energy grid brings hope to a local community and wins acclaimed international Ashden Awards for Humanitarian Energy.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), citizens in Yemen experience frequent power cuts. Also, many cannot afford increasing electricity prices. When this is the case, people either turn to diesel-powered energy or installing individual solar cells which again proved to be unsustainable and expensive in the region that experiences conflict since 2015. So, “to lighten the load on citizens in the Abs district, Hajjah governorate, the Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen (ERRY) Joint Programme has supported 10 female entrepreneurs in establishing a private solar grid”.
To initiate the pioneer project, $37.000 grant payment was used to train local women on how to run the microgrid operation and to purchase 36 solar panels, 16 batteries and 2 inverters. Since its implementation in 2018, the project does not only empower local women by allowing them to participate in the economy but also contributes to shaping the Yemeni society’s approach to women’s place in public and work life.
Also, the project was awarded with Ashden Awards for Humanitarian Energy in July 2020. A first in Yemen, the private microgrid project hopes to inspire more similar initiatives. Harriet Lamb, CEO of Ashden, says “Community-owned solar microgrids are an ideal low carbon energy solution in any circumstance but is even more powerful given the conflict and ongoing hardship in Yemen”.
UNDP reports that the project has helped 2,100 people gain access to disposable income and 10,000 people with access to sustainable energy; thus providing the most vulnerable group of women and youth with some stability and training. Without doubt, this initiative contributes to gender equality, access to affordable and clean energy, and local climate action. It is a clear and inspiring example of how solar energy can be used to empower distressed communities.
Source: "United Nations Development Programme". https://www.ye.undp.org/content/yemen/en/home/stories/yemeni-women-launch-the-countrys-first-private-solar-energy-grid.html
"United Nations Development Programme". https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/news-centre/news/2020/UNDP_Yemen_wins_acclaimed_international_Ashden_Awards_for_humanitarian_Energy.html
Note: All images are from the UNDP website unless otherwise stated.