Amidst Energy Crisis, Syrians Turn To Solar Energy


The severe electricity shortages have forced Ibrahim al-Akzam, a Syrian dentist, to use solar power to maintain his Damascus clinic. This is a reflection on the country’s deep energy crisis after 11 years of war.


This has protected Akzam from the continual blackouts caused by the state grid’s crumbling infrastructure and the rising costs of diesel for a private generator.


The 41-year-old said that moving to alternative energy was the best solution right now. He spent almost $7,000 on the installation.


He is one of the fortunate ones. People who still depend on the public grid and private generators were particularly affected by severe fuel shortages in recent weeks.


Further compounding the power crisis was a wider economic meltdown triggered by conflict, Western sanctions, and the government’s loss of northeastern oil-producing territory.

According to a government report, the war in Syria had caused 6.1 billion Syrian pounds of indirect and direct damage to a power grid once covering 99% of Syria.

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In order to encourage investment in renewable energy, the state introduced incentives such as eliminating import duties on equipment.

Assad visited a solar power plant in September and stated that the state was still focused on traditional forms, but he expressed support for private sector investment.

He said that the state could be a partner in buying electricity and then selling it to consumers.

The amendment to the electricity law was made by Assad to encourage private sector investment in traditional and renewable energy. It allowed producers to sell power directly to consumers for the first time.

Madian Diyar is the head of the Syrian investment authority. He stated that 5 renewable energy projects have been licensed so far, each producing 200-megawatt hours.

According to the government report, this is still a small amount compared to the 49 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity that Syria produced before the war.

Baraa Sheira from central Hama is one of the entrepreneurs who received a license for a solar farm.

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The state grid has purchased the 1-megawatt output from Sheira’s 2020-built plant at a cost of around $800,000. Sheira refused to reveal the sale price.

Sheira stated that while we are producing one right now, we could still produce 10 to 20 if there weren’t some major obstacles.

Import restrictions made it difficult to import equipment and the collapse of the Syrian pound – along with the wide gap between official and black market exchange rate rates – discouraged would-be investors.

Sheira suggested that the state establish “preferential pricing” for solar-generated electricity to offset the higher equipment costs and attract more investors.

He stated, “Today when it is time to rebuild the country’s economy and its infrastructure, we want to begin with electricity.”

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