French co seeks stake in $100m Negev solar venture

EDF unit EDF-EN is in talks to become a partner in the venture to build a solar energy farm at Kibbutz Ketura.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that EDF Energies Nouvelles SA (EDF-EN), a subsidiary of France's national electric company EDF SA (Euronext: EDF) is in talks to invest $100 million to become a partner in the venture to build a solar energy farm at Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava. If a deal is closed, it will be one of the largest in Israel's solar energy market in recent years.

The Ketura solar energy field will generate 40 megawatts of electricity on a 600-dunam (150-acre) site. Last month, the project obtained approval of electricity tariffs from the Public Utilities Authority (Electricity), and the project's developers have three months to secure the financing for it. The developer, Arava Power Company, has to pay NIS 18 million in capitalized lease payments for the land to the Israel Land Authority.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Arava Power has been seeking a partner to share in the payment to the Israel Land Authority.

Arava Power Company, run by CEO Jon Cohen, has already signed several agreements to bring in partners for projects in the south. Projects include a 4.9-megawatt solar farm near Kibbutz Ketura, Israel's first solar farm, which was hooked up to the national grid last summer; and 15 other projects in the planning and advanced approval stages. Partners in these projects include the Jewish National Fund and Germany's Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; DAX: SIE).

EDF-EN Israel, run by CEO Ayalon Alain Vaniche, is a partner in four solar energy projects with Arava Power.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on January 21, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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