Solar tech innovators in Israel seem to be always looking West for investment dollars, but in a surprising move, Israel’s Housing & Construction company –– Israel’s largest construction firm –– said it has made an offer to buy a significant stake in Solel Systems. This is the same company that played a role in the construction of the very damaging and controversial highway 6, a toll highway, that many environmentalists said never had to be built.
The story on the investment and not the controversy was picked up by Reuters who reported that on Monday, Housing and Construction Holding said it hired Credit Suisse to help find a co-investor in Solel.
The Belgian fund Ecofin, which currently controls Solel, a solar thermal energy company, bought its stake in the solar energy company Solel in 2008 for about $125 million, says Reuters.
Germany’s Siemens was also in talks last month, as we reported, to invest $100 million in Solel, and meanwhile a few of the world’s largest technology companies working in the area of power generation had expressed interest in investing in Solel.
Solel made the news last year when it won a tender to supply 190,000 solar receiver systems to Ibereolica Solar, a Spanish solar plant developer to power eight seperate 50 megawatt solar power plants the company is building in southern Spain.
Another unnamed Spanish firm then bought 70,000 receivers, with both deals totaling $250 million.
WIth the world’s economy apparently belly up, looks like the clean tech arena is not just doing okay, it’s shining.
But it’s important to know that investors think about money when they buy stakes in companies, and they do not necessarily support environmental principles. Clean tech is a trendy investment brand these days, and those who invest could be just taking a ride on the wave.
As we mentioned earlier, take note that Contruction & Housing is the same company that built Israel’s much contested Highway 6. Some environmentalists are calling it the kiss of death.
According to the company’s website:
“Housing & Construction is a partner in the “Derech-Eretz Highways” consortium which is building the Cross-Israel Highway, a $1.3 billion BOT toll project. Construction has started in October 1999, the first section of the road was opened in August 2002, and tolling was commenced on December of that year.”
See also “controversy” in the Wiki article here.