Israel's largest solar field inaugurated

Halutziot solar field

The Western Negev project at Halutziot will provide power to 18,000 homes.

The solar energy project in Halutziot in the Western Negev is getting underway. Israel's largest photovoltaic energy field was officially inaugurated today in the presence of Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz. The field, which has a capacity of 55 megawatts, was built by Enlight Renewable Energy Solutions Ltd. (TASE:ENLT), in cooperation with the Noy Infrastructure and Energy Investment Fund. Investment in the project totals NIS 500 million.

The field is a joint regional venture established on land belonging to a group of communities, including the Halutziot area communities of Naveh and Benei Netzarim, as well as Ohad and Dekel. It covers 800 dunam (200 acres), and contains 180,000 solar collectors. The government has been promoting solar energy since 2008.

in 2009, the government set an interim target for 2014: production of 5% of electricity from renewable energy sources. The target for 2020 is 10%. Six weeks ago, the cabinet approved raising renewable energy targets of 13% by 2025 and 17% by 2030. As of now, however, renewable energy accounts for only 2% of total annual electricity consumption (98% of this 2% is from photovoltaic solar facilities).

"The Halutziot project is one of the business ventures that everyone profits from: the state increases its sources of energy, the public gets cleaner and cheaper electricity, the community where the project is located becomes a partner in the many benefits, such as employment and capital, and obviously the developers benefit from the development of a new industry," said Enlight CEO Gilad Yavetz.

Yavetz added, "Enlight is proud to take part in this revolution, but unfortunately, it is moving too slowly, and some are advocating slowing it down even more. I call on all the policy-makers in this matter to expedite the revolution, set high targets, as has been done in other developed countries, ease regulation, and allow this winning formula to multiply itself. Don't look at the short term."

At the same time, the Manufacturers Association of Israel is attacking the Ministry of Finance's plan to raise the tax on coal in 2016, claiming that the tax hike, combined with the subsidy for renewable energy, will raise electricity bills by more than NIS 620 a year. "In contrast to what the Ministry of Finance has been saying in order to mislead the general public, raising the tax on coal will in no way improve the environment, as long as Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) (TASE: ELEC.B22), the main consumer of coal, has no alternative for energy at its plants that are not connected to natural gas," Manufacturers Association president Shraga Brosh said.

The main contractor and the operator of the project is the engineering and construction company M+W Group.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 11, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

Halutziot solar field
Halutziot solar field
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