Greenstar Foundation Solar Community Center Installation Al-Kaabneh Village
West Bank, Palestine
Mahmoud, a villager at Al-Kaabneh, serves hot, sweet mint tea to the Greenstar technicians installing solar panels on the roof of the local school.
March, 1999 a photographic narrative
Al-Kaabneh: a small Palestinian settlement on the West Bank, 2000 people with no electricity, no telephones and no running water. About 10 miles southeast of Hebron, 15 miles from Masada, near the Dead Sea.
Selected, in a 1998 study by Friends of the Earth Middle East and the Palestinian Hydrology Council, as one of dozens of communities which are "off the grid" -- no conventional electricity, and ideal for participation in renewable solar energy programs.
The people of Al-Kaabneh are Bedouin, with thousands of years of experience living in the desert. They are devout Muslims, understated and friendly, eager to share, aware of the larger world and fascinated by the potential of computers and the Internet, which they have read about but mostly never seen. They receive a full eight years of English education, and dream of working as teachers, lawyers, engineers, programmers...their potential is enormous.
Eight large, sturdy 300-watt photovoltaic solar energy panels, provided by ASE Americas, were hand-carried and mounted on the roof of the partly-finished school. They were wired together and connected to electrical gear that charges an array of batteries for up to four days of backup power, and converts the power into usable AC power. People in the village were active and knowledgable about every part of the process; they built some of the panel mountings and installed all the interior wiring and sockets themselves. They are receiving education in operation and maintenance, to go forward independently.
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