Israel inks deal for $1b. solar power plant

Consortium of local and Spanish companies to build 121-megawatt facility in Negev desert

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A solar project in the Negev  (Photo credit: Courtesy)
A solar project in the Negev (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Israel has signed a deal to build a multi-megawatt, thermo-solar power plant in the country’s southern Negev desert as part of a national goal to increase the use of renewable energy sources.

The NIS 4 billion ($1.05 billion) deal for the 121-megawatt plant was announced by the Finance Ministry on Sunday, Reuters reported.

A consortium of Israel’s Shikun & Binui and Spain’s Abengoa are to build the plant at Ashalim in the Negev, close to an existing solar plant.

They hope to complete the project by 2018.

The European Investment Bank and the US Overseas Private Investment Corp. are to finance the project.

Another scheme will see the construction of a photovoltaic power plant nearby, with the three facilities eventually set to provide up to two percent of Israel’s total electricity needs.

The government has set a target to see 10% of the country’s electricity produced from renewable sources by 2020, and the Finance Ministry plans to publish a tender for another plant in an effort to reach that goal.

Thermo-solar technologies use the sun’s rays to produce heat that drives generators, as opposed to photo-electric systems, which convert light into electricity.

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