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Israel Pushing for More Solar Power

July 30, 2010
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The move comes a few months after Israel’s National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau announced that 10 percent of Israel’s energy needs will come from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by 2020. To meet the goal, Israel must install enough renewable energy infrastructure to produce over 4,000 megawatts hours of power. “We decided to enlarge the number of megawatts to match the Israeli government’s intention to have 10 percent of electricity production come from renewable energy by the year 2020,” Nurit Felter, a spokesperson with the Public Utilities Authority told The Media Line.              

Chaim Brown, chairman of Real Housing Israel, which builds solar power panels on private homes, said solar power has become a profitable business in Israel. “It’s not a surprise, it’s a very lucrative business,” he told The Media Line. “It pays over 12 percent on your investment.” Brown was optimistic that the newly raised quota would be filled. “That’s the quota that fills up the fastest,” Brown said. “They have the most to gain.”   

Brown argued that Israeli companies are more likely to install solar panels because they are more willing than private citizens to go through the bureaucratic process that is required to be allowed to install solar panels.

Dr. Amit Mor, CEO of the Israeli consulting firm Eco Energy Ltd, commended the decision. “The move by the Public Utilities Authority is a move in the right direction,” he told The Media Line. “The installation of small PV [photovoltaic] systems on rooftops, although important, does not have any strategic importance to the renewable energy consumption. The Public Utilities Authority’s activity should focus on providing and analyzing the regulation that is necessary for encouraging the construction of a large scale CSP [Consecrated Solar Power] power station in the range of 100 megawatts in the Negev [desert] in south of the country as well as large PV [photovoltaic] plants.”

“A cost benefit analysis by EcoEnergy on the penetration of renewable and solar energy, and a report by the World Bank on the same subject analyzing the potential for renewable and solar energy utilization in Israel, show the potential for thousands of hours of megawatts that can bring in some US $3 billion in the next decade,” Mor said. “In addition the PV systems are manufactured in China and Germany with no benefit for Israel, meaning Israeli electricity consumers are paying to subsidize jobs in those countries.”

“Israel should focus on large scale solar and wind power stations with Israeli-based technology from which manufacturing and labor benefits will remain in the country,” Mor said. According to the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructure the country’s three main energy sources are coal (69 percent), natural gas (23 percent) and oil (7 percent).     

Posted on July 30, 2010

Source: (By Adam Gonn, The Media Line, July 28, 2010)

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Photo License: Wikimedia Commons

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