Israel Air Force aims for energy independence

The IAF plans to set up solar energy installations at all its bases.

A new large and significant play may soon enter Israel's burgeoning solar energy market - not a factory, supermarket chain, or a kibbutz - but a whole branch of the IDF, the branch synonymous with the skies and clouds: the Air Force (IAF). "Globes" can reveal that the IAF plans to set up solar energy installations at all its bases. Some bases will be able to meet all their electricity needs, and even sell the surplus to the national grid, which will give the IAF what it calls energy independence.

Within two months, the IAF will publish a tender for small photovoltaic systems (up to 50 kilowatts) for electricity production at its bases. The tender is for the supply and installation of the systems, and their maintenance for 15 years, with an option to extend for five years. Later this year, the IAF is due to publish a similar tender for mid-sized photovoltaic systems (between 50 kilowatts and 5 megawatts) to be installed at larger bases.

The jewel in the crown of the IAF's solar power project is an initiative to build a large power plant at the Nabatim Air Force Base in the Negev. This project is now in the feasibility review stage. The IAF wants to build a 50-megawatt thermosolar power plant, using technology developed in Israel, at an estimated cost of NIS 250 million.

The photovoltaic systems and the thermosolar plant are part of an IAF initiative to install solar power systems at all its bases. The plan is part of a broader plan to reduce electricity consumption by 10% by the end of the year.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 21, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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