Kugler, US co to build $300m solar energy field

Siemens (Solel Solar) will supply the equipment for the 60-megawatt facility at Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Hezi Kugler's Kugler Development and Investments Ltd. and US equity firm Two Sigma Investments LLC have teamed up with Siemens Concentrated Solar Power Ltd. (formerly Solel Solar Systems) to build a 60-megawatt solar energy field at an investment of $300 million. Siemens will provide the thermosolar equipment from its Beit Shemesh factory.

Two Sigma invests in US high-tech companies and reportedly manages projects worth billions of dollars. This is its first investment in Israel in solar energy. Kugler and Two Sigma will own the project, to be built on land in the Negev owned by Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh in the jurisdiction of the Ramat Hovav Regional Council, near the planned Ashelim solar power plant. They are seeking Israeli and foreign institutional investors to invest in the project. The investors are now conducting due diligence on the project.

The project will sell electricity to the national grid. It will amount to at least 10% of the first quota of solar energy from large facilities, but will contribute just 0.5% of Israel's projected electricity needs in 2014.

For the project to be built and ready under the desirable timetable, the government will have to recognize it as a national infrastructure project. Kugler's rivals claim that he will exploit his connections from he previous job as director general of the Ministry of National Infrastructures to promote the project. They also claim that the contract with Two Sigma and Siemens is an example of this.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 29, 2010

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

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