Monday, July 20, 2015

Two Giant Israeli Solar Plants Will Soon Provide Nearly 2 Percent of the Country’s Electricity

Solar panels in farmlands outside of Tel Aviv, Israel, after a rain. (Credit: Shutterstock) Click to Enlarge.
On Sunday, Israel inked a $1 billion deal to build what will become the second 121-megawatt solar power plant under construction on a swath of country’s southern Negev desert.  When completed in early 2018, the two plants, along with a smaller 30-megawatt photovoltaic plant slated for the site, will provide 2 percent of the country’s total electricity production.  Israel has a target of getting 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Israeli Finance Ministry said the overall site, named after the nearby town of Ashalim, will be the biggest of its kind in the world, and will have electricity storage options on top of solar power generation.  The 121-megawatt Megalim Solar Power Ltd. project is already under construction and is expected to be completed by 2017.  The newly financed project — to be built by Abengoa, a Spanish firm that focuses on innovative technologies in sustainability, and the Israeli global infrastructure group Shikun & Binui — is expected to break ground next month.  It is being financed by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the European Investment Bank as well as several local commercial banks.

The newly financed solar park will produce energy for more than 69,000 households, and prevent 463,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
Both of these two large solar plants are concentrating solar power (CSP) — otherwise known as thermal solar — plants. Instead of converting solar power directly into energy, as photovoltaic plants do, CSP plants focuse the sun’s rays using parabolic troughs. The reflected sunlight then heats a fluid, such as molten salt, that runs a generator which creates electricity. The Ashalim plant in Israel will be able to use the molten salt — salt that has been turned into a liquid due to high heat — to store thermal energy for 4.5 hours.

Read more at Two Giant Israeli Solar Plants Will Soon Provide Nearly 2 Percent of the Country’s Electricity

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