Over the years, street lighting expense in Bethlehem has become a growing burden on the local authorities, even though part of it is directly paid for by the residents. Especially during the Christmas period, the cost of street lighting reaches $40,000 monthly. Additionally, the condition of the street lighting networks needs continuous maintenance often requiring new parts.
These facts drove BDF to promote efficient street lighting efforts with solar energy. Starting with the main streets of Bethlehem Governorate, a needs assessment study was carried out by BDF to identify the needed electricity to light 28 kilometres of main and rural streets.
The study identified the need for working on three levels in parallel. The first one is to design and install the needed PV solar farms, the second is to replace sodium lamps with high consumption of energy with LED lamps and last to install new lighting poles as needed.
A project proposal was developed and submitted to the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), and in August 2020 AFESD approved to fund the first phase of the project.
BDF agreed with the municipalities of Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour to prioritize the streets that need lighting according to their touristic importance and to the current condition of the existing lighting network. Priority was given to the historical core area of each city.