Seeking energy independence, Palestinians open solar plant

This Tuesday, May 21, 2019 photo, shows solar panels at the newly inaugurated Nour Jericho solar plant, in the ancient West Bank city of Jericho. Mohammed Mustafa, head of the government's investment fund, said Wednesday that the plant is one of four planned plants. He said the Palestinians rely almost entirely on power imported from Israel and the new plants are part of a long-term project to reduce that by 50% over the next decade. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

JERICHO, West Bank (AP) -- Palestinian officials say they have inaugurated their first solar panel plant as part of a plan to reduce their dependence on Israeli power sources.

Mohammed Mustafa, head of the government's investment fund, says that Wednesday's plant opening in the ancient West Bank city of Jericho is one of four planned plants. One has been donated from China.

He says the Palestinians rely almost entirely on power imported from Israel and the new plants are part of a long-term project to reduce that by 50% over the next decade. He says the four solar panel stations should cover about 30% of Palestinian power consumption.

Mustafa says the West Bank consumes about $700 million a year in electricity.