Skip to main content

Iraqi Kurdistan's first solar plant helps with power outages, boosts agriculture

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s efforts to increase renewable energy usage come amid persistent electricity shortages throughout Iraq, as well as rising environmental concerns.
Workers install electric wires for Iraqi refugees as they set up a new part of the Khazir refugee camp near the Kurdish checkpoint of Aski Kalak, 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, Nov. 21, 2016.

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani unveiled a planned solar power plant in Erbil last week that stands to benefit the agriculture sector as well as chronic electricity shortages.

The project has obvious appeal for addressing the power shortages that last for around 12 hours a day, but could also benefit agriculture and water management in the autonomous region of northern Iraq. Desertification and water scarcity are also issues in the region. However, the costs of solar equipment for farms, which run in the thousands of dollars, are prohibitive for many farmers in the Kurdistan Region.

"Farmers are not ready to spend that much money," Nashwan Dhahir, the Iraq country director for the Swiss-based environmental organization cewas, told Al-Monitor.

Solar energy is growing in the Kurdistan Region, and could especially benefit farms and the nascent green and agriculture technology sectors there. 

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.