• Western Asia/Middle East
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Case study 17 January, 2023 Battery / Energy StorageSolar PV Other Grid-connectedMicro/Mini-grid

atmosfair – Energy for Mam Rashan (Iraq)

Who, What & Where

  • atmosfair GmbH
  • Energy for Mam Rashan
  • Kurdistan, Iraq

The Company

atmosfair is a German non-profit organisation that actively contributes to CO₂ mitigation by promoting, developing and financing renewable energies in over 15 countries worldwide. We rely exclusively on voluntary climate payments from private individuals and businesses. Aiming to decarbonise the world economy, we designed our software tools and consulting services to assist businesses in executing their climate policies, with a particular focus on business travel.

Our work ethic is based on the following principle: only compensate what can’t be avoided or reduced. This approach constitutes the foundation for all our partnerships, ensuring not only climate integrity but also cost efficiency.

The Challenge

The camp Mam Rashan was built in 2015 in response to the thousands of IDPs (Internally Displaced Person) caused by the ISIS. The camp is currently home to ~10,000 people who cannot go back to their destroyed or unsecure villages. Mam Rashan is one of 22 IDP camps in the region of Dohuk, Iraq and it is designed to be one of the permanent camps. The camp is connected to the national grid but suffers from recurrent electricity shortages in the whole region, mainly during the night. As a result, IDPs cannot cool their containers during the day (reaching 40°C outside) or use electrical equipment, such as fridges.

Some IDPs that can afford it, are connected to a diesel generator run by a private operator. However, for the most vulnerable IDPs, free electricity is their only solution, a situation intensified due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

Renewable Solution

As the region has a high solar irradiation and electricity is mostly required during the day, the most suitable solution was to build a PV plant (980 kWp) with a battery storage (800 kWh), together with a low voltage grid in parallel to the national grid. The installation of the plant was done by IDPs supervised by atmosfair and a local site manager. The site manager and some of the IDPs are now the O&M team of the plant, supervised by Greentech.

The plant was installed in two phases. As the first installation was not enough to cover the electricity demand of the camp during the day, it required an energy management system, which allowed to supply the load groups in a rotating system. A plant extension combined with a limitation on the connected load per household have made it possible to cover the demand of all households at the same time.

Project Financing and Costs

EUR 1,500,000

  • Federal state Baden-Württemberg (Stiftung Entwicklungs-Zusammenarbeit Baden-Württemberg (SEZ)) (project finance)
  • Several equipment and service donors (project finance)
  • Elk-Erneuerbar (engineering); Martany (civil works) Autarsys (battery); ZnShine, REC, Luxor, NSP, AEG (PV modules); Kaco. Refusol (inverter); Zimmermann PV-Stahlbau (mounting structure: manufacturing)
  • Greentech (O&M supervision)
  • Nawar Aeena (O&M provider & local partner)

Project Outcome

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic households benefited from the project which provides electricity to 1,840 households free of charge and covers some shops and workshops during the summer.

Through the installation and O&M works, the project created 40 short term and 10 long term jobs within the camp for the IDPs.

Where the users used diesel generators beforehand, the solution has helped to avoid CO2e emissions, about 1,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Key Recommendations for International Funding Partners & Regulators

  • Consider DRE at the camp implementation phase and combine it with the national grid if possible, to avoid a costly and complicated system.
  • Offer a tariff system that is affordable to all, e.g., a basic amount of electricity for free and a fee for any extra demand.
  • International funding (grants and low-interest loans) is required to cover the high initial costs.