Comet-ME is an Israeli-Palestinian organization providing renewable energy and clean water 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 installation of renewable energy systems (wind and solar), clean potable water solutions, capacity building, and reliable maintenance.
Who we are
The Comet-ME Team
Elad Orian – co-founder, general manager, environmental expert, physicist
Noam Dotan – co-founder, technical manager, retired high-tech executive, physicist
Waseem Jabari – project manager
Asmahan Simry – operations manager / community outreach coordinator
Ryan Brand – design engineer
Dahham Abu Aram – maintenance manager
Muhammad Aqeel – technician
Musab Shrouf – technician
Ibrahim Mhamara – technician
Khalil Shehadah Abu Sabha – technician
Ali Hamamdeh – technician
Moatasem Hathaleen – water project manager
Ahmad Sayareh – water quality expert
Dr. Anwaar Lahalih – public health expert
Tamar Cohen – organizational development manager
Basheer Abu Baker, CPA – financial manager
Prof. Dan Rabinowitz
Dr. Danielle Shani
Dr. Michal Givoni
Dr. Yoav Lehahn
What we do
>To provide green energy and clean water 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 and household-level clean water solutions. 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 the energy and water infrastructure.
Our work has developed out of a long-lasting relationship and commitment to the marginalized Palestinian communities in Area C — from our base in the south Hebron hills and now as far north as the Ramallah area. Initially a voluntary initiative, Comet-ME carried out its first installations in 2006 and formally incorporated in Israel as a public benefit company in September 2009. Today, we are a vertically integrated micro-utility, providing basic energy services to 69 communities encompassing nearly 6,000 people. In 2013 we entered the field of off-grid water pumping and filtration solutions, and since then have brought our clean-water services to households throughout our energy install base. Comet-ME is currently the leading provider of sustainable rural electrification services in the region, and an innovator in the field of off-grid water technologies.
Over a decade of experience in the field, we have seen how the provision of basic energy and water services to the marginalized communities in Area C has proven to be an effective means for community empowerment and economic development, allowing communities to choose their own paths while adapting our services to their evolving needs. Since the establishment of Comet-ME’s Center for Appropriate Technologies in the south Hebron hills in 2012, Comet-ME has been a daily presence in the lives of the beneficiary communities, responding to any issue—technical or social—that arises, and in this way establishing ourselves as a reliable and trustworthy service provider in the region.
“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 refrigeration 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 edge 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 designated as “Area C” under the agreements between Israel and the PLO. This means that both military and civilian 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 expropriated 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 harrassments, home 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.