21 Mar 2017
Ramallah, Palestine
Renewable energy and energy efficiency

Palestinian entrepreneur Eng. Fadi Bkirat and his team always knew they wanted to innovate and push the envelope. As clean energy gained international attention and momentum, it naturally seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Fadi believes that solar energy can create positive change for Palestine, helping his country envision a sustainable future.

The Palestinian people have the highest electricity bills in the Middle East. Unexpected power cuts also interrupt their daily lives and businesses in the West Bank.

Palestine depends on Israel for its electricity needs and, therefore, is often impacted by protracted conflict between these two counties. Lacking oil and gas resources, Palestine imports over 90% of its electricity from Israel. Most of this electricity is generated from fossil fuels.

Palestine embraces solar energy and its sustainable future | The Switchers

Fadi started out as a consultant for green buildings and became one of the advisors for the first biogas project in Palestine. He also trained young students and engineers in energy.

Founded in 2011, Rack Tech began as a family business, including Fadi, his wife, brother, and brother-in-law in addition to a team of engineers. The Rack Tech team worked tirelessly on solar energy projects with small businesses and organizations, including the Arab Health Center and Sanmouris Bakery. They also designed their own green office, installing a solar energy system, LED lighting, and smart sensors to generate and conserve energy.

But Fadi and his team soon faced challenges. It was often difficult to import solar panels and other equipment and coordinate logistics through borders. Lack of access to financing and funding also kept projects from taking off.

Industrious and resilient, the Rack Tech team learned quickly and adapted to overcame these challenges. They’re now moving forward with designing and building large-scale solar projects, reaching up to 5.7 MW.

Palestine embraces solar energy and its sustainable future | The Switchers

Rack Tech and Gigawatt Global, a U.S. firm based in the Netherlands, are collaborating on the first large-scale solar plant in Palestine. The two companies have formed a joint venture to share and exchange skills, knowledge, and resources for this project.

Located near the city of Hebron, the solar plant will provide affordable electricity for surrounding communities and businesses. It will also provide job opportunities and training for local Palestinian engineers and workers. The project will be primarily funded by the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) as well as other international and national investors.

Palestine embraces solar energy and its sustainable future | The Switchers

Solar energy in Palestine will directly benefit people, planet, and profit. The Palestinian people will secure a reliable, affordable source of energy. Businesses and startups will expand and thrive as sustainable energy leads to more innovation and growth. The environment will benefit as CO2 emissions and fossil fuel consumption are reduced within both Palestine and Israel.

Rack Tech is one of only a handful of renewable energy companies in the Middle East with a female founding member. The company also promotes gender equality by hiring women as engineers and experts.

As Palestine embraces solar energy solutions, Rack Tech will have more opportunities to expand its portfolio of projects and services. Fadi and his team hope to someday work on renewable energy research and development (R&D) and create truly innovative solutions for Palestine and beyond.

“This solar plant (PV Tech) is very important at this time because of the shortage of electricity in the vicinity. Also it will be a good way for employment for the Palestinian engineers.”Fadi Bkirat, Rack Tech Founder and CEO
Palestine embraces solar energy and its sustainable future | The Switchers
Rack Tech Renewable energy and energy efficiency
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