Power outage is one of the main problems  facing residents of Gaza since Israel bombed the power generators that provide the strip with electricity five years ago. Throughout this time, Gazans have been involved in constant attempts to find alternatives to the dysfunctional Electricity Company. Very few succeeded in producing results and one of them is an inventor who managed to create a home-made electric system. Mahmoud Shaheen, a 55-year-old chemistry professor, started investigating the possibility of generating electricity at home a long time before the bombing of the generators.
“I started thinking of this experiment 21 years ago and at the time things were not really better than they are now because Gaza was under Israeli occupation and power outages used to happen a lot,” he told Al Arabiya. His idea was made possible when a Palestinian vendor brought electrical cells from Israel and did not know what to do with them. He took the cells from him and started experimenting with them until he managed to generate electricity. “Since then my house has been fully lit and during blackouts it is the only house from which light comes in the middle of Jabalia.” Shaheen, now known as the Conqueror of Darkness, explained that he did not use chemical reactions to generate electricity, but rather depended on solar energy. “It is pretty simply. The sunlight that falls on the cells is converted to electrons that are transmitted through wires to batteries that keep the generated energy in them until it is used then charged again and so on.” Shaheen pointed out that all the electric devices in his house are working at full capacity with a rate of energy conversion that amounts to 3,000 watts. “This means that they are working properly all day and night.” After seeing the success of his experiment, Shaheen added, several Gazans started inquiring about the possibility of using the same technology to face power outages. “I started with the handicapped since they suffer a lot because of their inability to charge their electric wheelchairs. I have converted a large number of electric wheelchairs to work with solar energy.” Shaheen said he wrote a proposal about applying his experiment to the entire Gaza Strip and submitted it to several international organizations for funding. “If the project is approved, I will be able to implement a mega-project that aims at lighting Gaza and I will start with hospitals and main roads.” Solar energy , Shaheen explained, is the most important source of energy in the region and using it can lead to the gradual replacement of fuel. “The Middle East is blessed with its long exposure to the sun throughout the year and generating solar energy can solve so many problems.”
By Yusuf Sadek
If you've tried your hand at home electrical systems, (though don't try these at home without supervision) or if you've got any bright ideas on lighting up your life, please contribute here!