One of the issues regarding the widespread use of solar energy to create electricity has been that many solar energy panel “farms” involve large numbers of expensive solar panels or reflector mirrors spread out over a large land area. Large solar array plants, like those being installed by companies like BrightSource even ran into problems in the USA when a large project they were involved in was put on hold in California in 2009 when a planned 5,130 acre solar farm in the Mojave Desert ran into protest from environmentalists and Native American groups. Everything is now on track
SolarPower rooftop rural power grid.
A more friendly solution to using the sun to produce electricity may now be in the offing, however. A number of solar energy companies are now involved in erecting smaller individualized solar energy “stand alone” systems that can be installed on rooftops, in back yards and in remote locations where established electricity grid power lines are simply not available.
One of these companies, SolarPower, is located in Israel and now provides these small stand-alone solar plants to businesses, small rural municipalities, and also to remote communities abroad where both communication networks and electricity grids are not available.
Established in 2003, and headquartered near the coastal city of Netanya, SolarPower produces grid connected photo voltaic (PV) systems, solar powered telecommunication systems, and individual “stand-alone” systems for providing rural electricity in remote areas.
“We are involved in these projects in both Israel and abroad, including South Africa. Our solar projects involve ones like small solar panel arrays for providing power to farms, communication networks, and the like in rural areas,” said Project Manager Baruch Bronstein who, along with Co-CEO Alon Tamari were promoting their company during a recent green business conference held in Netanya.
Besides offering small solar installations to provide both electricity and communications network hookups to rural communities, the company also offers business investment opportunities in solar panel installations in which the investors can profit on solar created electricity that is sold to a local, regional or national power grid.
In this type of situation, the investors simply “lease” space on a large rooftop, such as a commercial building, or on a vacant lot, where the solar plant is then erected. Naturally, profits to be made will depend on the “feed in tariff” amounts that are paid by the electricity power companies to small independent solar power suppliers.
These feed-in tariff amounts are currently dependent on assistance given by government authorities; and it now appears that those willing to invest in installing these solar plants in some African countries may reap more benefits by receiving higher feed-in tariffs.
SolarPower communications grid
Taking all of this in mind, it may be that these smaller solar energy plants, providing power of between 10 and 50 kwh of electricity could very well work better than larger, more expensive solar plants that also take up much more land area.
Solar Power’s local clientele includes the Israel Defense Ministry, the Israel Electric Company, and a number of communications and infrastructure companies who supply both communications linkage and electricity to rural areas in both Israel and abroad.
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