Emek Hefer builds Israel's largest parking lot solar array

Emek Hefer solar array  / Photo: Afcon Solar PR, PR

The solar panels are the roof of the covered parking lot.

Work is now being completed on building the largest solar array on a parking lot in Israel and connecting it to the electric grid. The parking lot, located in the Emek Hefer industrial park, has an installed capacity of 130 kilowatts. The covered parking lot, which occupies a 3.2-dunam (0.8-acre) site, has 50 parking spaces for private vehicles. The parking lot, whose roof consists of solar panels, is open to public use and will be connected to the grid in the coming days.

The solar facility of the roof of the parking lot will generate 250,000 kilowatt hours a year, thereby saving greenhouse gas emissions on a large scale. Charging stations for electric cars have also been installed in the parking lot. Although combating the climate crisis requires a transition to renewable energy, as of now, only 4% of roofs in Israel have solar panels. The Public Utilities Authority (Electricity) has set a target of only 10% of roofs with solar panels by 2020.

The combination of charging stations and a solar energy system helps regulate the load on the electric grid during peak hours and constitutes a source of addition revenue for the Hefer Valley Regional Council. The project is planned to expand later to three more parking lots in the regional council. The regional council said that this was the first parking lot in Israel that would generate a significant quantity of electricity for sale to the Israel Electric Corporation, and would add a great deal to the regional council's revenue, which could be used to expand public and economic projects. Emek Hefer Economic Development Corporation VP business development Sagi Ben-Yoav asserts that as of now, the total investment in the project is NIS 10 million in the coming years: NIS 4 million will be invested in parking lots' roofs and NIS 6 million in other projects on public roofs owned by the regional council. The cost of the solar panels placed on the roof of the new parking lot is NIS 1 million.

The investment in the panels is designed to pay for itself over the coming decade, and then generate a NIS 100,000 annual profit. Additional money from the parking lot will come from stations in the parking lot for charging electric vehicles. In addition to the new parking lot, another parking lot twice the size is being built.

Another interesting project by the regional councils is water associations. Local water associations CEO Zvi Gerber claims that as a result of the four solar energy facilities built in recent years on the sides of the regional council's water reservoirs and on the surface of the water itself, all energy used by the water associations in Emek Hefer is supplied by the solar panels, including the pumps, filters, lighting, etc. These activities are very expensive for the water associations, so the profits from the solar facilities are very large. Four of the reservoirs now generate over 8 megawatts, and more than 35 megawatts daily during the summer.

Emek Hefer Regional Council head Dr. Galit Shaul also chairs the Emek Hefer Economic Development Corporation, which is also responsible for increasing the regional council's revenue. She says that efforts are being made to initiate and implement additional projects. "The regional council is acting on behalf of innovation and environmental protection. This project is the first of its kind; it combines environmental values with profits," she declared.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 28, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

Emek Hefer solar array  / Photo: Afcon Solar PR, PR
Emek Hefer solar array / Photo: Afcon Solar PR, PR
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