Amid a worsening fuel crisis in Lebanon and increasing power blackouts, Lebanese citizen Mohammad Chehab found relief in installing solar power supply in his house to provide him and his family with around-the-clock electricity.
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As the country suffers what the World Bank has described as one of the deepest depressions of modern history, shortages of fuel this month have meant state-powered electricity has been available for barely a few hours a day if at all.
“The pressure and stress we feel from electricity cuts, be it from the family or yourself coming home to no power, no light and no cold water to drink especially during the summer, is in itself a good reason to look for an alternative source of electricity,” the drone operator in his thirties said.
The renewable energy solution, although not new to Lebanon and the world, has become more popular in Lebanon in recent months despite a deepening economic and financial crisis that has hit the small Middle Eastern country.
One company that installs solar panel systems, Mectric Engineers, had to double their installing teams from two to four. According to its co-founder and manager Alain Bou Nasr, half of people who now call them for information are buying it - in comparison with “maybe 5 percent” earlier.
“Unfortunately, people waited for this crisis to switch to an alternative power that is clean and profitable… On the positive side, people got to know this (solution) and discovered that in Lebanon, we have more than 300 sunny days and we can rely on sun for more than 10 months a year, this is positive, people are starting to install,” Bou Nasr said.
Lebanon's worsening fuel crisis has reached a painful crunch point, with bakeries, businesses and hospitals either scaling back operations or shutting down completely, making life even harder for Lebanese already enduring a financial meltdown.
As the fuel oil that powers Lebanon has disappeared from the market, Lebanese have sweltered at home in the summer heat without light or AC, routinely tossing out the contents of fridges while having to set aside hours to fill up the car - if increasingly scarce gasoline can be found.
Many say living conditions are worse than during the 1975-90 civil war.
It marks a new low in the financial crisis that erupted in late 2019, the result of decades of corruption and mismanagement by a ruling elite that has failed to find solutions as more than half the population has sunk into poverty.