Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Sunday, Apr 02, 2023

US helps power-starved Lebanese businesses switch to solar

US helps power-starved Lebanese businesses switch to solar

The US has launched a $20 million fund to help Lebanese businesses install solar energy systems as owners struggle to stay afloat amid the collapse of the country’s electricity sector.
US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea launched the Solar & Renewable Energy Fund on Friday, saying it will help local businesses reduce operating costs, sustain their operations and maintain employment levels.

“This fund will support the purchase and installation of solar power generation systems for at least 25 businesses,” she said.

Lebanon’s crumbling power sector has forced businesses and households to rely largely on private diesel generators.

Power now is available for only four hours a day, thanks to a $60 million advance approved by the Cabinet in favor of the Electricite du Liban to supply fuel to operate the Deir Ammar and Zahrani plants.

However, few trust the state’s sudden generosity. Jamal, a lawyer, said: “Increasing feeding hours to four hours may be a temporary trap to impose the new price on taxpayers, after which we will fall back into darkness.”

Shea said: “Lebanese businesses are struggling in this current economic crisis. They have limited access to financing and their capital accounts, like those of all depositors, are trapped in Lebanese banks. For years, Lebanese enterprises relied on unsustainable and costly energy sources harmful to the environment.

“The US Agency for International Development contributed $4 million in seed capital to the Solar & Renewable Energy Fund, and we are working to secure an additional $16 million from private investors and other donors.”

She added: “The fund will lend capital to enterprises at commercial rates, anticipating that the loans will be repaid within two to three years. This will come from savings on reduced reliance on diesel generators.

“We expect that these businesses will cut their operating costs by at least 20 percent, reducing their expenditures on electricity, and thereby boosting productivity and protecting Lebanese jobs.”

Lebanon has failed for decades to reform the electricity sector, which has cost the state billions of dollars without reaching effective solutions.

The state treasury covers EDL’s losses, which amount to about $2.5 billion annually. The deficit created by the Lebanese electricity sector is about 45 percent of the country’s total.

Protesters staged sit-ins at the EDL headquarters in 2019 over the reduced power supply. Before the crisis, the Lebanese received 12 hours of state electricity per day. However, the feeding hours gradually dropped to eight, then four, before power plants were temporarily shut down.

Farid Belhaj, World Bank vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, met Najib Mikati, Lebanon’s caretaker premier, earlier this week and expressed the bank’s dismay at the government’s failure to reform the electricity sector, a condition for implementing a plan to draw energy from Jordan via Syria, funded by the bank.

A decision by Lebanon’s energy ministry to raise subscription fees for access to electricity, based on the constantly changing exchange rate, has added to the burden facing many Lebanese.

With monthly bills amounting to millions of Lebanese pounds, many are cancelling their subscription, saying they can no longer afford to pay state electricity and private generator fees, especially since the latter are priced in dollars.

As the value of the Lebanese pound continues to fall and the price of diesel to operate private generators rises, many have opted for solar energy.

Thousands of solar panels have been installed on residential buildings and on rural land in the countryside to power factories producing local commodities.

Lebanese citizen Ahmed Al-Rabih said: “I decided to cancel my electricity subscription because I cannot bear all these burdens. The consumption value is 10 cents for under 100 kilowatts, and 27 cents for over 100 kilowatts, which means that the bill will at least amount to 1,500,000 Lebanese pounds.”

An EDL employee told Arab News: “Many citizens who emigrated from Lebanon have asked their relatives to submit requests to cancel their electricity subscription because they would be pointlessly paying fees without benefiting from electricity. Others are canceling their subscription because they have private generators or solar energy for their buildings and there is no need for them to pay additional fees.”

The employee said noted that a third category of people are canceling their subscriptions without having other alternatives, but they can simply no longer afford it.

Activists launched an online campaign under the slogan “We will not pay” in objection to the new tariff for state electricity and to boycott the payment of EDL bills.

Related Articles

Saudi Press
The G-7 aims to make global crypto regulations tougher
Don’t Dismiss China’s Peacemaking Bid
Father obliterates council members following viral TikTok of biological male masturbating in women’s bathroom..
EU's von der Leyen: "We know this is an era where we rely on one single supplier. China. 98% of our rare earth supply."
China and Brazil have signed a new deal that will allow them to trade in their own currencies, bypassing the US dollar as an intermediary
Elon Musk and Others Call for Pause on A.I., Citing ‘Profound Risks to Society’
Nashville style execution
“We've had evidence prior to the pandemic that masks were largely ineffective at preventing community transmission of influenza “
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz:
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz rejects being labeled a "billionaire"
Jamie Dimon is being deposed over JPMorgan Chase role in Epstein lawsuits
This is how an electric car saves all the energy that he would have spent if he had lived 50 years longer.
Brand new security footage has just been released to the public showing the Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to Covenant Church School in her Honda Fit this morning, parked, and shot her way into the building
Social Media censoring users for saying the true
Smart Iranian fashion designer teaching dummy TV anchors lesson about reality
U.S. charges FTX's Bankman-Fried with paying $40 million bribe
Fallen 'Crypto King' Who Owes Millions to Investors Was Kidnapped and Tortured
Regulators blame social media for SVB's rapid collapse: 'Complete game changer'
AOC explains why she opposes banning TikTok
UK: Humza Yousaf replaces Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and first minister in Scotland
In a dramatic U-turn against His Government: Judicial Reform Legislation Must Be Halted, Says Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel Corporation, died at 94
Powell: Silicon Valley Bank was an 'outlier'
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
NYPD is setting up barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of Trump arrest.
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Goldman Sachs cuts outlook for European bank debt over Credit Suisse crisis
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
"Will Fly Wherever International Law Allows": US Warns Russia After Drone Incident
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
Announcing GPT-4
TRUMP: "Standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III."
China is calling out the US, UK, and Australia on their submarine pact, claiming they are going further down a dangerous road
A brief banking situation report
We are witnessing widespread bank fails and the president just gave a 5 min speech then walked off camera.
Donald Trump's asked by Tucker Carlson question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?.
Good news: The U.S. government is now guaranteeing all deposits, held by, Silicon Valley Bank, and the funds are available as of today
Silicon Valley Bank exec was Lehman Brothers CFO
Saudi Arabia has announced a major breakthrough in diplomacy with Iran after two years of intense talks
A Mississippian man, who was once considered a “ticking time bomb,” has lost a whopping 165 kilograms! What motivated this incredible transformation?
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
Barcelona is feeling the heat as they face corruption charges over payments to former vice-president of Spain's referees' committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira
Banking regulators close SVB, the largest bank failure since the financial crisis
Watch: “They are wounded but unbowed, unbreakable.”
Silicon Valley Bank: Struggles Threaten Tech Startup Ecosystem"