In one of the largest deals ever for Israel’s local solar energy market, SBY Solutions Ltd an Israeli based solar energy company, plans to purchase more than $35 million worth of solar panels from the Chinese Suntech Power Holdings Company Ltd. It’s the same Chinese company that supplies solar PV panels to the San Francisco airport (links to PDF).
The photovoltaic (PV) solar panels will be able to provide as much as 18 megawatts of electricity in both Israel and Italy, where they will be installed, according to an article published in Globes. Suntech is the largest solar energy component company in China and is one of the largest in the world. SBY will use the panels for solar energy plants it will be constructing in both Israel and Italy.
This is not the first deal involving Israel and Chinese renewable energy companies. Other solar energy deals include a deal made between Chinese based ET Solar and Ventura Communications Internet Israel Ltd to supply Israel solar energy companies with much-needed solar panels. In another Israel-China deal, the Israeli solar tech company HelioFocus, based on research from the Weizmann Institute, will be invested in by China’s Zhejiang Sanhua in a $10.5 million agreement.
SBY is based at Moshav Nitzanei Oz in the Negev, and has installed 220 rooftop solar power facilities to date. SBY CEO Tamir Kaplinsky founded the company in 2008, and it has about 60 employees.
Both Israel and China see the need to become more involved in solar energy to provide a cleaner source of electricity. China has become one of the most polluted countries in the world, with much of its air pollution being the result of coal powered electric plants and industrial complexes.
In fact, air pollution caused by sulfur dioxide has become so bad in many parts of China, that a study conducted by the World Watch Institute in 2005 found that in cities like Guangzhou, fine particulate levels are up to five times US safety limits. And in Hong Kong, sulfur dioxide levels rose by 41 percent in 2005 alone, threatening the city’s competitiveness as the free-trade center of Asia.
While Israel’s air pollution problems are much less than in China, the growing amounts of air pollution in cities like Haifa, caused by chemical industries and oil refining, are becoming a matter of concern. Both Israel and China also have energy problems – with Israel having to import most of its energy in the form of crude oil and coal, and China changing from an energy producing company to one in which energy supplies have to be imported.
By developing solar energy for generating electricity, both countries can win.
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