West Bank, Palestine
Al-Kaabneh: a small village on the edge of the Dead Sea desert, population 2000. Until Greenstar began work there in December 1998, the village had no electricity, no pure water, little education or medical support...and no computer or communications.
The village mosque now has a small solar panel on its roof, at the left; it powers an amplifier that announces the five-times-daily Muslim call to prayer, so that the people can hear the voice of the mosque for miles across the desert hills.
Inside the mosque, the head of the Al-Kaabneh Village Council tests the new solar-powered amplifier.
In the center of the village, a new school and community center have been built; the Greenstar solar panels were originally positioned on the low roof at right and have now been moved to the higher roof, at left, for better solar exposure. During the day, a bank of batteries is charged by the sun; at night, the batteries deliver a stable supply of both AC and DC power to circuits wired throughout the building.
The eight large solar modules, supplied by ASE Americas of Boston for Greenstar, generate 2.4 kilowatt-hours of power, at 48 volts. One large module now also powers the nearby clinic, providing lights and cooling for vaccines and antibiotics needed by the village.
Greenstar contracted the services of Sol Nur Enterprises, of Haifa, to help install the solar array and supporting electrical components. Ibrahim Yehia, head of Sol Nur, instructs key people from the village on maintenance and safety procedures. Ibrahim visits Al-Kaabneh once a month to reinforce the training and conduct routine inspections.
Several leading young people from the village were selected to receive basic training in solar engineering. They showed off their new expertise recently when, unprompted and with no outside assistance, they disassembled the entire array and wiring, moved all the components from one rooftop to another, then reassembled everything -- and the entire system came back up, working perfectly.
Chief Engineer for Greenstar, Fuad Abulfotuh of Cairo, instructs the villagers on the principles of solar power and electricity, how to optimize performance of their new solar equipment, and on basic conservation and preventive maintenance.
A close friendship has developed between Greenstar and the people of Al-Kaabneh. Mr. Audi Nasir Al-Najada, head of the Village Council and principal of the school, stands with Greenstar engineer Dr. Fuad Abulfotuh.
A key goal of Greenstar is to build a foundation of trust and new economic development, which can form the basis for lasting peace in areas where the challenges and the potential rewards are great -- as in Palestine.
Next on the Greenstar agenda for Al-Kaabneh: the establishment of a wireless connection to the Web, a commercial website and email for many people in the the village, and production of "digital culture" in Al-Kaabneh: traditional music, artwork, photography and storytelling offered for download to a global market on the Web.
For more detailed information, go to the Greenstar home page.