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The boom in solar panels in a Ukraine ravaged by Russian strikes

Nazariï Guitchka climbs onto the roof of the maternity ward of kyiv which he directs to observe workers who attach solar panels there, an installation which has become essential in Ukraine, whose infrastructure has beené ravaged by Russian bombings.

Every week, Russian missiles and drones strike the Ukrainian energy network, causing daily power outages that affect almost the entire population.

“Their level cynicism is such that we must prepare for everything, even extremes. Why do babies have to suffer when they are born?”, denounces the director of the maternity ward.Energy infrastructure has suffered such damage that restoration within an acceptable time frame is impossible. And if energy is lacking in summer, everyone already has the coming winter in mind.

Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky therefore ordered the installation of panels solar panels in all hospitals and schools “as quickly as possible”.

“We are doing everything to thwart Russian attempts at energy and heating blackmail”, he said. -he hammered.

Mr. Guitchka had not waited for the face-to-face directive. His hospital just got this equipment, but had launched the procedure to obtain it at the end of 2022, when Russia carried out a first campaign of bombing energy installations, plunging millions of civilians into darkness and cold in the middle of winter.

– Nervousness –

As a critical infrastructure, the maternity ward is not affected by power cuts organized electricity, but it needs generators and panels to deal with unforeseen events and ensure that the incubators will continue to operate whatever happens.

The boom in solar panels in a Ukraine ravaged by Russian strikes

A worker installs solar panels on the roof of the kyiv maternity hospital, June 14, 2024 in Ukraine © AFP – Anatolii STEPANOV

“Our task is simply to ensure that (the patients) will not lack anything”, explains the director, still on the roof of his establishment.

A few floors lower, Alina and Pavlo Kondratiuk look at Maksym, their son born an hour earlier in the middle of an air alert, to the sound of sirens that the mother barely noticed.

< p>“I had my own alarms here,” she says of her delivery, a tired smile on her lips and the baby in her arms.

Pavlo tells her his “nervousness” at the idea that the hospital could find itself plunged into darkness. But the medical team quickly reassured him by telling him that the establishment would remain powered.

“So we no longer worried,” he told AFP.

The boom in solar panels in a Ukraine ravaged by Russian strikes

Alina and Pavlo Kondratiuk after the birth of their son Maksym, at the Kiev maternity hospital, on June 14, 2024 in Ukraine © AFP – Anatolii STEPANOV

Solar panel installers are also seeing a boom in orders from individuals, with Ukrainians starting to equip themselves “the second the power cuts started,” says Solar Tech sales director Yuri Skoblikov.

“Our phones were ringing like crazy, and our offices were full of customers,” he says, assuring that he already has a waiting list of orders to process until August.

Anastasia Kyslinska, director of the Spilno school in kyiv, installed solar panels in her establishment in November 2022, and that winter “they fulfilled their role in the most difficult times.”

Not only were the lights and computers working in the school, but the power generation was sufficient to help the neighborhood.

– “C 'is feasible” –

“People came from neighboring buildings, parents of students too, to charge their flashlights, their batteries because we had these solar panels “, she says.

The boom in solar panels in a Ukraine ravaged by Russian strikes

Anastasia Kyslinska, headmistress of the Spilno school, inspects the solar panels on the roof of her school during a partial power outage in Kiev, Ukraine on June 18, 2024 © AFP – Anatolii STEPANOV

De facto, the Russian bombings have forced Ukraine to turn to renewable energies, which before the war accounted for only 11% of energy production, with the country relying primarily on coal, gas and nuclear power.

“At the local level, people are using them, and maybe this pressure from the grassroots will have an impact on our leaders and our entire energy system,” hopes Dmytro Bondarenko, a researcher at the Kiev Institute of Renewable Energy.

First steps are coming. President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered this week to set up tax incentives and loans for Ukrainians wanting to install energy-saving systems.

But for the expert, Mr. Bondarenko, Ukraine must succeed in transforming its existing infrastructure to significantly increase the share of renewables in its mix.

“We can change our lifestyle, technologies and our activities to adapt to this unstable energy supply. There are difficulties, but it is feasible,” he believes.

All rights reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116