(JORDAN)

The “world’s first solar energy farm in a refugee camp” has been opened in Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp.

Earlier this month the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, turned on the camp’s new 8.75 million euro solar plant, which the refugees helped to build. Financed by the IKEA Foundation’s Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign – which has raised over $30 million, it will provide lighting, and in turn help make the camp feel like a safer place. Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation, said the solar farm represents “a paradigm shift in how the humanitarian sector supports displaced populations”.

The 2-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) plant will provide clean electricity to around 20,000 refugees, who until now only had access to solar lamps and street lights placed in one of the villages, both funded by the IKEA Foundation.

IKEA-donated Solar lights turn as night falls throughout in Azraq Refugee Camp, Al Azraq, Jordan.

“Lighting up the camp is not only a symbolic achievement; it provides a safer environment for all camp residents, opens up livelihoods opportunities, and gives children the chance to study after dark. Above all, it allows all residents of the camps to lead more dignified lives,” explained Kelly Clements, UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner. “Once again the partnership between IKEA Foundation and UNHCR has shown how we can embrace new technologies, innovation and humanity while helping refugees.”

The plant will result in millions of dollars of savings and slash CO2 emissions by 2,370 tons annually. It is also connected to the grid, so any additional electricity will be sent free of charge to the host’s network.

Per Heggenes added: “UNHCR Jordan will save millions of dollars, while reducing carbon emissions and improving living conditions for some of the world’s most vulnerable children and families.”