With the inauguration of solar plant by UNHCR, Azraq refugee camp in Jordan became the first refugee camp in the world to be powered by renewable energy.
Funded by the IKEA Foundation’s Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign, the solar farm has brought renewable power to a population that lived for two and a half years with only sporadic access to electricity.
The solar farm will contribute to the Jordan national energy strategy to achieve a green economy by 2020.
The solar plant allows UNHCR to provide electricity to the 20,000 Azraq camp residents for free.
The families in the camp can now connect a fridge, a TV, a fan, have light inside the shelter and charge their phones, which is critical for refugees to keep in contact with their relatives abroad.
Azraq camp opened its doors in April 2014 and is located in a desert area in northern Jordan, with hot summers and harsh winters.
The lack of electricity has been one of the main challenges faced by its residents, making daily activities difficult, especially for women and children.
The introduction of electricity in January 2017 addressed these challenges and significantly improved the well being of Azraq residents.
For the last two and a half years, refugees have been living with the sole support of solar lanterns distributed on their arrival and street lights installed in one of the villages, both funded by the IKEA Foundation.
The construction of the Azraq solar plant has also meant an income opportunity to over 50 refugees who have been trained and employed to help build the solar farm under the supervision of the Jordanian solar company Mustakbal, which led the works on site.
Some of these refugees will be also in charge of the maintenance works in the future.
Providing renewable energy sources to refugees and their host communities is one of the priorities for UNHCR globally.