Lebanon’s electricity woes are a part of daily life. The constant shift from government-provided power to diesel generators is the norm. And while residents may be getting by , it’s the future that is most worrying ; the demand will continue to increase and the state -run electricity company EDL (Electricité du Liban) – already struggling – will not be able to keep up. Naturally , alternative energy sources are already in place , with attractive subsidies fr om local banks to assist businesses and homeowners to take renewable energy (RE) loans.

Words Alia Fawaz
The Small Decentralized Energy Power Generation Project (DREG) is a new initiative aimed at helping industrial and commercial businesses to realize longterm energy savings and also to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the four year project has a total budget of $1.575 million with approximately a $700,000 total grant component, and will be able to help up to ten beneficiaries.
Executed by the Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW) and in coordination with the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC), DREG will assist each beneficiary through a grant and through technical and project management
assistance, by setting the specifications and standards for procuring the equipment and installation services for an RE system. The equipment that will be mainly supplied is photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, which have long been considered as clean sustainable energy technology that draws upon the planet’s most plentiful renewable energy source – the Sun. Luckily, Lebanon has sunny days for most of the year and it is only a matter of time before PV solar panels become widespread. “In the last five years, PV technology has grown exponentially,” explains JilAmine, Project Manager of DREG. “And as this technology continues to mature, the prices will go down further and the technology will become increasingly attractive since the payback period will be shrinking significantly as well.”
Each of these panels can provide up to 250 watts and has a life span of 25 years. While
the cost of installing them is still somewhat high to, the long-term savings on electricity expenses are substantial. “For someone operating a large factory or a hotel for example, over a period of 25 years you can be looking at saving around $1.8 million on electricity bills” , Amine Said.
DREG will finance 25% of the cost of each project, while the rest of the financing will need to come from the NEEREA low interest loan of 1.075%. So overall this scheme is highly attractive for the beneficiaries. “The UNDP CEDRO project has already started before us, albeit its co-financing is higher,” explains Amine.
It is also worth noting that DREG will notonly target PV technology, but will also explore possibilities in other renewable energies such as biomass, wind, and hydro.
With more projects like these introducing RE into the industrial and commercial sectors, Lebanon will be able to achieve a higher share of alternative energy use,which is ultimately the way forward.