March 19 - An innovator in Gaza is refurbishing old car batteries and using them to power an LED network that is illuminating his neighborhood during blackouts. Ben Gruber reports.
STORY: In Gaza, blackouts are part of daily life. But Hassan Saad has come up with an innovative solution to illuminate his neighbourhood when the power is shut off. Saad is refurbishing old car batteries, filling them with liquid acid, generating just enough energy to power a network of LED's lights set up on the street and 50 homes that make up his neighbourhood. Along with providing a free source of light, Saad says his lighting solution is environmentally friendly as well. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GAZA RESIDENT WHO USES BATTERIES TO LIGHT HOMES WITH LED LIGHTING, HASSAN SAAD, SAYING: "The goal of this project is to avoid the noisy sound of the generators and the pollution they produce as well as expensive fuel. LED lights work on used batteries and provide a stronger light source than candles." Saad says the LED network saves residents in his neighbourhood about 20 dollars per month and can stay on for about 8 hours at time.. And for elementary school student Ali Al-Ankar, the system provides just enough light for him to complete his homework. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) STUDENT FROM GAZA, ALI AL-ANKAR, SAYING: "I go home from school at dusk and there is typically no electricity, so Hassan Saad turns on the LED lights for us so we can study, thank God." Between a limited energy infrastructure and ongoing blockades from Israel and Egypt, there is no end in sight for Gaza's energy problems. But Saad says that at least now, the kids in his small neighbourhood can play and study....even after the sun goes down.