Comet-ME is an Israeli-Palestinian organization providing basic energy services to off-grid communities using environmentally and socially sustainable methods. We facilitate social and economic empowerment of some of the poorest and most marginalized communities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories through the construction of renewable energy systems (wind and solar), capacity building and reliable maintenance.
Who we are
Elad Orian – co-founder, general manager, environmental expert, physicist
Noam Dotan – co-founder, technical manager, retired high-tech executive, physicist
Ala Qawasmi – project manager, mechatronics engineer
Aya Shoshan – development and communication manager, B.A. in political science, Yale University
Waseem Jabari – electrician, renewable energy systems
Jalal Tamimi – electrician, renewable energy systems
Hadar Gafni – financial administration
Prof. Dan Rabinowitz
Dr. Daniel Shani
Dr. Yoav Lahan
What we do
>To provide basic energy services to off-grid communities in a way that is both environmentally and socially sustainable.
>To empower marginalized communities.
>To overcome barriers of hostility through joint work of Israelis and Palestinians on the ground
Comet-ME builds and installs hybrid wind and solar stand-alone mini-grids. We are a vertically integrated implementing agency, which means we manage the process from conception to completion. Through direct and long-term involvement with the communities, we gain a better understanding of their needs and we are able to design the systems accordingly and ensure the long-term sustainability of renewable energy infrastructure.
Comet-ME has designed and installed renewable energy systems throughout 21 communities, providing clean energy to more than 1,600 residents. Today, Comet-ME is a key player in the field of renewable energy for off-grid rural communities. We partner with aid organizations and technological initiatives around the globe to get the best results on the ground. Capacity-building is a top priority for us. We have trained a professional team of Israelis and Palestinians to work in the field of renewable energy. Comet-ME commits to providing basic energy service to all off-grid Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills.
“For people who experience daily dependence on the forces of nature for water, sunlight, pasture, and indeed survival, a system that takes advantage of the burning sun and blowing wind, provides a new dimension to their relations with nature – one that is a bit more balanced, empowered and active.”
- Social Anthropologist Shuli Hartman
Millennium Development Goals
The UN Millennium Project has identified energy as a key element in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, since it directly affects poverty reduction, food, water, education, gender equality, and health. The UN Development Programme specifically stresses the importance of decentralized power in rural areas to reduce poverty and increase economic options.
Energy services in South Mount Hebron allow communities to tap into their economic and creative potential. Electric butter churns and refrigerators improve the efficiency of dairy production, the main source of family income, and increase the quality of the products. The introduction of these appliances can increase revenue of a household by up to 70%. Families also save money by not having to purchase expensive gasoline for diesel generators.
Women and Youth
Rural electrification especially improves the lives of women and children. Electric appliances save hours of arduous labor traditionally assigned to women. Women now use cell phones more freely to communicate with friends and relatives and are more exposed to information through radio and television. Thanks to electric lighting, children can study in side caves and after dark, increasing their academic achievements.
Electricity also contributes to human health. It eliminates the use of dangerous kerosene lamps, enables the cooling of food and medicine, and allows the use of cell phones in case of a medical emergency.
Where we work
Masafer Yatta, a remote area in the southern part of mount Hebron, is home to a population of several thousand Palestinian farmers and shepherds living in shanty-like villages consisting of huts, caves and tents. Often referred to as ‘cave- dwellers’, they subsist on non-mechanized agriculture and herding. Geographically, the region is located on the verge of the desert which affects its climate, fauna and flora. Limited water sources, low precipitation and drought in recent years make survival in this area a continuous struggle.
The harsh natural conditions are exacerbated by the state of military occupation. Most of the region was marked as ”Area C” by the agreements between Israel and the PLO. This means that both military and civil control is in the hands of the Israeli authorities and that the Palestinian Authority cannot provide the local population with basic services or infrastructure. Since the 1980s, 15 Jewish settlements and outposts have been built in the region, some on appropriated land. These settlements, even those considered illegal by the Israeli government, enjoy modern water, sewage and electricity infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Palestinian communities adjacent to them suffer recurring harassments, house demolitions, sabotage and violence at the hands of settlers and Israeli authorities.
The poverty and marginalization apparent in these communities, and in particular the absence of energy infrastructure, is more a product of the political situation than of geography or economics. Our work is motivated by the desire to alleviate the unnecessary suffering imposed on these communities by violence and conflict.
How we work
Comet-ME strongly believes in open source design and local manufacturing whenever possible. We place a strong emphasis on sourcing components from local craftsmen, including building the wind turbines ourselves. Comet-ME has been active in the region for many years and has an intimate understanding of the social, political, and technical factors that influence the dynamics of the region.
We consider the communities we serve as both partners and clients. Our goal is to provide them with energy services that suit their needs in a way that is socially and economically sustainable. We invest in direct and long-term contact with the residents, and we use a work model that is based on substantial and meaningful community participation and ownership at every stage of the process.