FALLUJAH, Iraq — More than 35 kilometers of roadway in Fallujah and surrounding communities are now fully lighted with 1,200 solar-powered street lights thanks to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region District.
The third and final phase of the project was completed recently by project engineers at the Al-Anbar Resident Office based in Ramadi.
"The administration of this project is an excellent example of USACE's commitment to building Iraq's technical capacity," said Maj. Joseph Geary, officer in charge of the Al-Anbar Resident Office.
Iraqi engineers employed by Gulf Region District were the key to successful liaisoning with local electrical department representatives and city leaders, Geary said.
The project engineer was Nasir Elias, an Iraqi civil engineer who has worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for more than three years. He was assisted by Iraqi Quality Assurance representatives Mohammed Kasim Abbas and Hussein Al-Jaboree.
Solar power is widely recognized as a method for reducing the reliance on carbon-based energy generation and the resulting greenhouse gasses held responsible for global climate change. Solar power in Iraq, however, has a more palpable benefit. Iraq's degraded power distribution infrastructure causes frequent and unexpected outages. Unlike Iraq's electrical power grid, the sun is a near constant.
Additionally, in a country with limited power-generation capabilities, solar lights allow energy to be redistributed to areas of critical need. In an area where hard-wired lights may only operate for a couple of hours, a solar-powered light will provide continuous illumination through the night.
The final phase of the project was completed Dec. 28 at a cost of $2.9 million and was funded by Multinational Forces West - Iraq.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq has completed thousands of reconstruction projects in partnership with the U.S. government and the government of Iraq. Since 2004, USACE has completed 5,257 projects throughout Iraq, valued at more than $9.1 billion, and has more than 350 projects ongoing. The overall reconstruction effort in Iraq currently provides jobs for more than 20,000 Iraqis.