HARANABUSH, Syria — When the Syrian government attacked their village, Radwan al-Shimali’s family hastily threw clothes, blankets and mattresses into their truck and sped off to begin new lives as refugees, leaving behind their house, farmland and television.
Among the belongings they kept was one prized technology: the solar panel now propped up on rock next to the tattered tent they call home in an olive grove near the village of Haranabush in northwestern Syria.
“It is important,” Mr. al-Shimali said of the 270-watt panel, his family’s sole source of electricity. “When there is sun during the day, we can have light at night.”
An unlikely solar revolution of sorts has taken off in an embattled, rebel-controlled pocket of northwestern Syria, where large numbers of people whose lives have been upended by the country’s 10-year-old civil war have embraced the sun’s energy simply because it is the cheapest source of electricity around.
the Islamic State lost its last patch of territory in Syria in 2019, the northwest was importing fuel from Turkey that was much purer but cost more than twice as much, now about $150 for a 58-gallon barrel of Turkish diesel, compared with $60 for a barrel from eastern Syria a few years ago.
That price spike pushed customers into the arms of solar power, said Ahmed Falaha, who sells solar panels and batteries in the town of Binnish in Idlib.