(Video): How Afghans are using solar energy as alternative to unreliable state-supplied electricity


A short video report by Al Jazeera Arabic on how Afghans, especially in the sunny southern regions of Afghanistan, are increasingly resorting to solar power to help cover up for severe shortfalls in the government electricity network.

Source: Al Jazeera Channel (YouTube)

Date: December 29, 2021

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Pumping water from underground is no longer costly in southern Afghanistan. These farmers have found in solar energy an alternative to fuel-powered electricity generators. They need no more than this unit of solar panels to save large swaths of agricultural lands from desertification, with installation costs estimated at around 2,000 USD.

Mohammad Nassir, Afghani Farmer:

If we were not able to obtain solar energy the land would have become arid, because irrigation via fuel-powered generators is very expensive. Now we no longer need to pay any additional operating costs.


These technicians are finishing the process of launching a domestic solar energy unit. They say they have installed thousands of similar units in the past five years alone, and that around 80% of the residents of Kandahar now depend on solar energy either totally or to replace the (shortages of the) government (electricity) network that is barely functioning.

Ahmad Diaa Abdali, Electricity Technician:

The capacity of this unit is 20 kilowatts. However, due to financial difficulties people (usually) use units that produce 1-5 kilowatts with the aim of operating the main electric devices at home only.


Investing in solar energy is promising, according to energy experts, given the availability of sun exposure in southern Afghanistan, which amounts to more than 300 days a year. Turkish and Indian companies have benefitted from this (favorable climate) to help the government (electricity) network that relies on hydroelectric and thermal energy sources.

Jaafar Ahmed, Manager of a Solar Energy Plant:

We are depending now on foreign investment in the field of solar energy. I expect that local investors will pursue (solar energy) when they are aware of (its) importance because solar energy is the future of energy.


Round-the-clock lighting at almost zero operating costs. A dream come true in the streets of Kandahar which uses sunlight obtained during the day, to light up its streets at night. Solar energy becomes a vital alternative to the government electricity network.

Perhaps many Afghans were not aware of the importance of sustainable energy in the past. However, deprivation has turned Afghanistan within years into one of the most prominent countries relying on solar energy.

Samer Allawi, Al Jazeera, Kandahar

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