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Yemenis turn to alternative energy amid power crisis

As the war continues in Yemen, increasing power cuts have driven more and more citizens to install solar panels.
A man carries a solar panel amid a severe shortage of electric power in Yemen's capital Sanaa November 28, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi - RTX1W96L
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SANAA, Yemen — In the mid-1990s, satellite dishes on the roofs of Yemeni houses indicated that the owners were well-off and in possession of the latest TV technology. Two decades later, in 2015, solar panels started becoming part of the skylines of cities and villages. While satellite dishes were initially only visible in posh neighborhoods in big cities, solar panels appeared in record time in rural and urban areas, on the roofs of the rich and the poor.

With the start of the civil war, solar panels found their way into the country fast. On March 23, 2015, Sanaa experienced a major power outage. The Marib power plant, which supplies Yemeni cities with energy, went out of service. Consequently, the generator business flourished for a while. But in an unstable country like Yemen, one cannot guarantee that generators — which run on fuel — will remain functional at all times, especially with the increasing fuel prices and a lack of fuel every once in a while.

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