Israel’s natural resources are few and far between. But one resource that Israel has in abundance is sunlight, and perhaps for that reason, Israel has been a world leader in solar energy.
Until now, most of Israel’s cutting edge solar technology companies have focused their energies abroad, in California’s Mojave Desert and elsewhere. A huge solar plant has never appeared on Israel’s horizon…Until now. The new plant is generating interest among alternative energy countries worldwide, and will be dedicated next week, on June 12th.
The new Solar Energy Development Center will contain 1,600 full-size, computer-synchronized heliostats (reflectors) aiming at a 60 meter tall power tower topped by a solar boiler. The heliostats concentrate the sun’s natural energy onto the boiler, heating the water inside to 550 C, or over 1000 F.
The Center was created by the Israeli company BrightSource Energy and its wholly owned subsidiary Luz II. They are extending invitations to the press to visit the site next week.
What remains to be seen is how well this technology will hold up in the long run, given the massive costs to produce photovoltaic cells, as well as the relative inefficiency of such cells, the vast amount of space they occupy vs. their actual output of energy, etc.
But as a short-term solution to the longstanding problem of alternative energy, this new solar energy plant seems to fit the bill.