Two engineering students from Gaza have built a prototype solar-powered vehicle, hoping to solve the energy crisis in their hometown where fuel and electricity are in short supply.
Khaled Bardawil and Jamal al-Meqati, both 23-year-old, designed and built the solar power vehicle to combat fuel shortage and the constant electrical outage plaguing the Gaza Strip.
Bardawil said that they decided to depend on a natural power provided by God, which is renewable, alternative and clean energy.
Electricity outage disrupts the daily life in Gaza and paralyzes businesses; many stores are forced to reduce working hours to save electric spending and residents have to coordinate their social schedule as when the power is available.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the overpopulated Gaza strip currently receives less than half of its electrical demand of 470 megawatts (MW). This leads to long hours of power cuts that last between eight and 12 hours a day.
Bardawil and Meqati’s solar vehicle may bring some relief to the energy shortage; however they had some trouble finding parts needed to build the vehicle in Gaza.
Meqati, the other student said that electricity generators are not available in Gaza and unfortunately they can’t be manufactured in the city; therefore, they had to bring an engine and to apply many alterations to it, which wasn’t an easy process.
Lecturer at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, Mazen Abu Amer, hoped this project would help raise the awareness of solar power usage in the community. He added that by building this vehicle, they aimed at introducing a prototype as some European universities did. They also aimed at raising awareness and spread the culture of using solar power through these projects.
The Hamas group, which has run Gaza since 2007 and the rival authority of President Mahmoud Abbas have exchanged accusations over energy lack in Gaza.
In the past six years, three wars have broken out between Israel and Hamas. The conflict has worsened an already debilitated infrastructure, according to a United Nations report in 2015.
Gaza is separated from the world due to a blockade imposed by Egypt and Israel; its economy is in turmoil, with 43% unemployment rate in a population of 1.95 million people.