It already has an international presence, but Israel’s Ormat Industries (NYSE: ORA) just made its global presence a little brighter: On December 21, Ormat’s US subsidiary Ormat Technologies announced that it will be developing its very first 10 megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) farm near one of its geothermal plants in California. Ormat is an internationally recognized geothermal company but has already signed a 20-year power purchase agreement for its newest solar plant with the local community-owned utility Imperial Irrigation District.
“While Ormat’s roots in solar energy go back more than 40 years, we have recently reinitiated our development efforts in solar projects as a way to expand our renewable energy portfolio,” said Ormat Technologies President and COO Yoram Bronicki in a statement.
“Developing projects in a cost-effective way and with an acceptable tariff, without the strong dependence on tax incentives, is vital for us to further expand our solar activity in a meaningful way.”
The announcement comes at the same time as other global energy leaders are announcing solar shutdowns. On December 21, BP Solar announced it was shutting down its global solar operations because costs were simply too high for the business to be viable.
But for Ormat, which will not actually be manufacturing the panels but only managing the solar site, the venture may prove profitable. In addition, Bronicki added, the company’s strong presence in the region will allow the company to use existing infrastrucure for the solar plant.
“As the project is being built near the Heber geothermal complex area, it allows for reliance upon a portion of the existing infrastructure, such as the operation facilities,” he said.
Ormat’s venture into the solar sector may not be limited to the US California project. Bronicki said Ormat will be developing an additional 10-15 megawatts of solar PV power globally in the coming years.
The CA plant is expected to begin operating within 18 months with an annual production of 24,500 megawatt-hours of energy production.
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