Iraq's Solar Sunrise: Inching Toward Renewable Hope

Nov 2, 2023 04:29 PM ET
  • Iraq is tapping into solar power to resolve chronic electricity shortages and access clean energy. With over 70 buildings solarized since 2020, Iraq is leading the way in renewable energy and offering $750 million in zero-interest loans to further its cause.
Iraq's Solar Sunrise: Inching Toward Renewable Hope

In Iraq, electricity shortages are common and the country relies mostly on fossil fuels for its energy needs. Despite its vast oil wealth, Iraq struggles to provide enough electricity to its 43 million people after decades of conflict and sanctions, as well as rampant corruption and crumbling infrastructure. To combat the issue, many are turning to solar power. In a small village in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, solar panels adorn most homes, part of a small but growing effort to harness the sun's energy. Additional projects have been announced, such as a 1,000 MW solar plant and five solar plants with a combined capacity of 1,000 MW. To encourage renewable energy, Iraq's Central Bank allocated $750 million in almost zero-interest loans for individuals and private companies adopting solar power. Despite slow progress, Ali al-Ameri, executive director of Solar Energy Universe, has installed panels on 70 buildings since 2020, and has seen more people turning to solar. Iraq's use of solar power is still small, but the potential for clean energy is there, possibly offering an opportunity to resolve its chronic electricity shortages.

What Potential Does Solar Energy Offer in Iraq?

  • Solar energy holds promise to become the primary source of energy in Iraq, as it is abundant, renewable, and does not rely on oil and gas reserves.
  • Solar power has the potential to provide electricity to more than 43 million people in Iraq, and alleviate the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Solar projects have been announced, such as a 1,000 MW solar plant and five solar plants with a combined capacity of 1,000 MW.
  • To encourage renewable energy, Iraq's Central Bank allocated $750 million in almost zero-interest loans for individuals and private companies adopting solar power.
  • In a small village in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, solar panels adorn most homes, part of a small but growing effort to harness the sun's energy.
  • Ali al-Ameri, executive director of Solar Energy Universe, has installed panels on 70 buildings since 2020, and has seen more people turning to solar.
  • Solar energy could be a reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy source for Iraq while helping reduce emissions and combat climate change.
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