On August 4, 2020, an explosion involving a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored in the Port of Beirut resulted in over 230 deaths and thousands of injuries.
The Lebanese Solar Energy Society (LSES), like the majority of civil society, decided to assist the affected families by this dramatic blast even though it falls outside of the society's core area of its expertise such as capacity building, consulting, training and awareness activities as well as education.
In order to procure funding for supplying and installing Solar portable power packs that might help in providing clean and sustainable energy to residents of the area around Beirut Port and its environs, LSES President Walid El Baba developed and submitted the concept through a call for proposal launched by The Global Environment Facility/ Small Grant Program (''GEF SGP'') under UNDP. The project was selected and approved and LSES received a grant of 37 500 $ for this project titled “Small Portable Solar Power Packs (SPSPP)”, LSES offering an additional amount of 12 500 $ in kind.
This project consists in providing the supply and proper operation of 26 portable solar power packs of capacity 1000 watts with battery , a PV solar panel of 185 Wp to meet urgent local needs of low-income families houses, half of the units being delivered to apartments affected by the explosion of Beirut port, the other half to apartments in Beirut suburbs mainly in marginalized areas for the most vulnerable families which would affect the education of their children, the domestic day to day use of the families including lighting, internet, refrigerators. A training session for 8 technicians and young engineers at Industrial research Institute IRI to be familiarized with the solar PV systems in general, components and types of installations, as well as a workshop for disseminating the information among selected organizations of civil society are forming the second phase of the project
After the contract was signed, LSES named the project team including a director, manager, coordinator, and two student electrical engineers (one male and one female) who will work on the project's execution.
After creating the questionnaire, LSES contacted numerous credible social help organizations operating in different regions of Beirut to collect as many names as possible of potential beneficiaries.
The evaluation was based on a number of factors, including the family's living conditions, yearly income, the cost of the subscription generator (for those who are subscribers), the number of family members, particularly those who have medical conditions necessitating constant electrical power, such the use of respirators.
For the implementation phase, LSES contracted the supply of the Power packs to Renewable Med Energies Mr Ziad Doumit and Messrs. Yamak contracting for the solar PV panels while the execution was contracted to Projection sarl,
The team made site visits to the chosen homes to assess the buildings' state and determine the ideal location for the solar panel installation. The engineer in charge gave an explanation of proper power pack usage to the family members as well.
LSES members Ecosys offered with thanks the PV cables (1200 M), and Solarnet provided small part of the electrical accessories.
The installation proved difficult because of many constraints mainly the poor conditions of the buildings, the majority being very old .Special attention was given to the metallic supporting structure installation reinforced on top with concrete blocks of 50kgs. Those blocks (among other supplies) were carried to the roofs. The installation phase was completed successfully by July 20, just before the Beirut Blast's third anniversary. The supplied solar energy packs will be visited twice a month for the 3 coming months to ensure their proper operation. A report will be done accordingly and sent to the donors
Despite all the challenges the team faced before, during, and occasionally after the installation, everyone was delighted. The families wanted to express their gratitude to each and every one who helped make this initiative a reality.
The majority of them shed tears because they were unaware that the darkness they had been struggling with could ever have an impact on their daily lives. They used heartfelt words to show their gratitude. We have kept quite a few of them:
- نحنا منشكركن كتير على العمل الاحترافي الرائع، نحن كتير فرحانين. الله يجبر بخاطركن متل ما جبرتو بخاطرنا وينوّر أيامكن متل ما نوّرتوا أيامنا. (مستفيدة من المشروع)
- أنا بدي الكن شكراً على كل الجهد لي عملتو، وبدي اشكر كل شخص تبرّع لانجاح هيدا المشروع، المكينة عم تشتغل بشكل رائع. كلكن ذوق الله يبارك فيكم.(مستفيدة من المشروع)
- لساني عاجز عن شكركن، عم بطلب من ربي انو يعطيكن ايام حلوة ومن قلبي بشكركن.(مستفيد من المشروع.