BEBNINE, Akkar governorate — Akkar, Lebanon’s northernmost governorate, is also the country’s windiest, experts say.
With state-supplied electricity at little more than a trickle, some Akkar residents are turning to rooftop wind turbines.
Among them is 25-year-old inventor Muhammad al-Sabsabi, who met up with L’Orient Today on his grandmother’s rooftop in Bebnine, Akkar. Last year, Sabsabi used barrels, iron beams and help from local welders to build a wind turbine the size of a small merry-go-round that he planted on the roof.
Sabsabi isn’t an engineer by training. Formerly a French literature student, he assumed that he’d become a teacher someday. But he dropped out of university in 2021 when Lebanon’s deepening economic crisis meant he could no longer afford the fees.
Sabsabi turned to YouTube, books and scientific articles, and taught himself how to design his homemade turbine.
In a country where solar panels have become ubiquitous, Sabsabi is hoping Lebanese-made wind turbines could be a more affordable, simpler alternative that can be locally produced.
“I don’t know how long it’ll take but I’m optimistic,” says Sabsabi.
“We don’t need to rely on China and we don’t need to be paying for local generators."
Read more about Akkar’s nascent wind turbine economy here.