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The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) have signed a loan agreement worth USD 18 million to finance the installation of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems on 500 public schools in the West Bank. The EIBs investment, which falls under the Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) will generate 35 MW of clean energy enough to power more than 16000 houses across the West Bank.
The financing agreement was signed in a ceremony hosted by the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg by Emma Navarro, Vice President of the EIB, Dr. Mohammad Mustafa, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the PIF, and Azem Bishara, CEO of Massader.
Emma Navarro, Vice President of the EIB said: The agreement will help to harness the energy from the sun to power houses as well as schools. This will improve the availability of electricity supply in the West Bank. As the Bank of the European Union, we seek to promote renewable energy with the purpose of improving living conditions of Palestinian residents and improving infrastructure for business.
Dr. Mohammad Mustafa, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the PIF added: PIF -as Palestines development-centric sovereign fund- is leading an impact investment program that covers a diverse portfolio in the strategic and vital economic sectors such as renewable and traditional energy, infrastructure, natural resources, industry, technology and agriculture. PIF aims at contributing to laying the foundation for an innovative, sustainable and knowledge based Palestinian economy.
We are proud of this agreement and aspire that this would be the start for a strong and solid cooperation between PIF and EIB. We appreciate highly our partnership with the Palestinian Ministry of Education, the Palestinian Energy and Natural resources Authority and all the relevant Palestinian stakeholders.
Azem Bishara, CEO of Masader explained that the schools rooftops project is an integral part of Nour Palestine solar program; which PIF launched aiming at producing 200 MW of clean energy in the coming six years with an estimated investment portfolio of $200M, including three medium sized solar fields in the West Bank that are currently under construction.
The EIBs financing will be used for the installation of rooftop PV panels with a total capacity of 35 MW on 500 schools dispersed throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Massader, a PIFs wholly owned subsidiary, will implement the project. The company will use the electricity generated to power schools at no cost, as offset against using the rooftops, and will sell the remaining electricity at a competitive tariff to four electricity distribution companies operating in the West Bank and East Jerusalem..
This project, which falls under the European Union External Lending Mandate to the EIB, contributes to the development of social and economic infrastructure and climate change mitigation. It supports economic resilience of Palestine through a long-term investment in decentralised energy systems and it contributes to a reduced reliance on electricity imports. It will result in relative emissions savings estimated at 31000 tons of CO2 equivalent per annum, based on the avoidance of electricity generation from the existing and new thermal plants.
The ministry of education, which will enjoy electricity for the relevant schools, will raise awareness of children about climate change and the benefits of renewable energy as a source of sustainable energy.