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Following decades of civil war, Somalia is showing tangible signs of stabilization, however the country needs development especially on the Energy sector. The Horn of Africa nation, plagued by a war past, suffers a biting shortage of electricity. The sluggish repair or modernisation of power plants and transmission lines that were destroyed in civil clashes has not improved the situation. Somalia’s power bills are among the most expensive in the world, dampening the prospect of attracting capital inflows from investors as stability makes a return into the country. Solar Energy is being used in different parts of Somalia which is seen as a huge step towards progress and it is an important source of energy. Home based solar power is a quiet, nearly maintenance free, continuous source of electricity. Since 2001, ADRA Somalia has been on the forefront in improving the energy sector in Somalia/Somaliland by implementing several projects on energy. The Agency is currently implementing a three year project called Somali Energy Transformation (SET) in Somaliland, South Central Somalia and Puntland with funding from European Union (EU) to expand renewable energy access for rural and peri-urban populations in Somalia.
The SET project which has been in implementation since January 2016 aims to provide affordable and sustainable renewable energy to 100,000 households, with the main objective of Contributing to poverty alleviation, fragility reduction and climate change mitigation. Thus far, ADRA Somalia through the SET Project has installed solar power in 5 schools, 5 Health centers and 5 farms in Puntland. In Somaliland, the project has installed solar PV systems in 4 schools and 1 health center. In South Central Somalia, 3 schools and 2 health centers have benefited with solar PV systems. In addition, 3 pico-solar dealers have been supported with small grants to expand their businesses. The pico-solar are used for lighting and for charging mobile phones.
Farmers and communities being supported by the project have reported positive outcome of the project. In Cuun farm, Puntland, beneficiary farmers are reporting that they are saving between USD 12 to 18 per day by use of solar powered water pump. After the installation of the system, they no longer need diesel powered water pump to irrigate their expansive farms. The farmers use two petrol powered water pump to lift the water and pump to the nearby farms. Each water petrol water pump uses between 10-15 liters of petrol per day. Taking of average of 20 liters per day the rate of USD 0.6 per liter, the saving translates to USD 12 saving per day. In a year, the farmers will be able to save USD 4,320. Additional benefit from the system is that it will generate an extra USD 4,320 because it will operate twice the duration that petrol water pump operates. A petrol water pump runs for not more than three hours in a day while a solar water pumps runs for 6 hours in a day. The limiting factor being the availability of water in the shallow well. The solar power has a low maintenance cost compared to petrol powered water pumps.
In Dhudhob Primary School in Karkaar Region of Puntland, the school community is pleased with the Action. The school has a population of 143 pupils, comprising of 83 boys and 61 girls. The school authority reported that; evening classes in the school have started, security has improved at night, and they are able to do examinations on time. Before the installation of solar system, the school did not have any form of energy. They relied on power in the nearby town to print exams papers and reports. The grid power in the town was unreliable grid power because of outage. The electricity would go off during printing of exams papers and reports. With the installation of solar PV system, they don’t have to worry about power outages. The administration further reported that other agencies do visit the school to use electricity to power their laptop computers and mobile phones. Cuun Farm and Dhudhob Primary School in Puntland represent a part of the beneficiary populations who are reaping benefits from the recently installed systems, and it is expected by project completion many more schools, health centres and farms will benefit in most regions of Somalia.