Broummana, Lebanon – Power outages have come to Lebanon in recent weeks as the country is forced to change without electricity.
As a result of the government’s failure to provide more fuel, electricity from the Electricité du Liban government has dropped to two hours a day, and it has been complete closure in other parts of the country.
The secret diesel generator, which used to cover a three-hour period in state-owned power, is now responsible for the remaining 22 hours of the day.
The high demand and shortage of goods leads to low oil prices, and feeds the black market for oil reserves at prices that many in Lebanon cannot afford. The government said so reducing costs on diesel fuel and moved to allow direct input, I hope to address this deficit, but the effects have been increasing at four levels.
Generator subscription fees have skyrocketed, $ 375 on the same currency exchange market, to provide enough electricity to keep the family cool during the hot summer months. People who are rich enough to earn a lot of money still face daily power cuts while generator owners try to save fuel.
Sometimes no diesel is available, and they are forced to sweat in the dark, wondering if the food in their refrigerator has been kept cold.
As a result, there has been an explosion of interest in some electric power, and thousands of rich people are now turning to solar power to fend for themselves from an unreliable power supply. In a world that sees 300 days of sunshine a year, wealthy people are picking up the precious tools needed to provide sustainable electricity, and are providing them and their families with a secure environment.
“Depending on the environment, this is a success,” said Carla Nassab, a United Nations Development Program employee who works on several electrical projects in Lebanon.
“But growing up, it’s not just about people, it’s everywhere,” he said. “Companies are looking at solar energy or anything that provides them with electricity, because it’s much needed and it’s very expensive.”
Lebanese energy contractors interviewed in the case agreed, saying they had never seen such interest in solar energy before.
“I would say it’s getting bigger. Maybe this would be pointless. We’ve increased our team in just two weeks,” said Bassam Karam, CEO of Smart Power. “Now it doesn’t just cost. It’s a matter of, ‘Do you have electricity or not?’ ”
Karam said Smart Power receives more than 500 requests every week, and it is impossible for them to follow everyone.
Solar Contractors told Al Jazeera that their new clients from all over the country, from all religious groups, had nothing in common but to be able to pay for the low cost of their recent electricity bills in so-called “new” dollars, or US Dangers from foreign banks. not falling in 2019.
New technologies including photovoltaic solar panels, ion batteries, and solar panels – converting existing energy from the sun into something that can be stored in batteries – cost $ 4,500 to $ 6,000 and increase from there.
The use of this money provides a full storehouse of electricity from 8 to 10 after sunset, and lasts more than 10 years before it is repaired. But the initial cost is more than most Lebanese people can afford.
“We’re just taking new dollars,” said a spokesman for Kypros Solar, who said he had sold more than 100 systems this summer. “Because we import everything [the country], from China and especially the United States, then we pay for the new currency. ”
In Lebanon, as is the case all over the world, demand is rising and it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain basic necessities, and customers are being told to wait a long time, sometimes up to three months, before their order is set up.
“Instead of getting our business a two- or three-week warranty, we now have to wait 20 or 25 weeks,” said George Abboud, chief operating officer at Earth Technologies.
“So we started looking for other companies, not just factories. We started working with distributors, from the Emirates and Jordan and Europe, trying to get as many products as we could,” Abboud said, realizing that this was going to end his company’s profits.
‘It’s easy to grow green’
Despite growing interest, cost and shortage of equipment remain a major problem.
“I have taken solar and inverter from the company in Milan,” said a man in Bcharre, a mountain town in northern Lebanon, who asked not to be identified. “I can’t find batteries and they are very expensive.”
To save money, he decided to design and set up his own electronic machine. He works as a secret teacher of physics, receiving his salary in exchange for the Lebanese pound. He also said that in order to gain the independence of his family, he decided to sell the gold he had bought when the time was right.
In the end, he said, it was easier to opt for more electronic money. “You pay the same amount in US dollars every month [for diesel fuel]. This is why it is so easy to green or use solar energy or wind power to take care of your home. ”
Chawki Lahoud, owner and executive director of CLEnginering, saw an increase in solar energy coming in the last few months, with batteries and solar panels.
As a result, he said he could complete seven or eight jobs a week at a cost of between $ 6,500 each. He also said that he only takes a lot of work and sends small requests to his co-workers.
“I always advertise to the rich,” he said. “These people, I assure you, have them [access to fresh dollars.]”
Last week Lahoud was in Broummana, a wealthy mountain village above Beirut, and installed 10 buttons, eight batteries at the home of Samer Maatouk, chief financial officer at a company he declined to name.
“I didn’t ask him the price, I asked him to let him know,” Maatouk said. “Now if you don’t have electricity, you have no choice. There are no other options. Otherwise you shut down your generator, lose your food, and live the way you lived in 1850. ”
Across the street, Maatouk’s neighbor Abdullkhalek Mallah said he wanted to provide Lahoud’s solar system soon.
“We are paying 7 million pounds [$4,600] and it is cut every day, ”he said at a diesel generator charge last month. “The whole system will cost $ 4,800, but it still works better than paying electricians.”
Although the route is only available to the rich, Nassab of the UN says it sees Lebanon’s solar power as the most beautiful place in Lebanon.
“It simply came to our notice then. It’s a pity, “he told Al Jazeera.” But I think it will change our behavior in the future.
“This is the push that people need. In the past, no one could see its benefits unless it was good for the environment and reduced the pressure on Electricité du Liban. “