On the eve of its launch, Arava Power must prepare for a “real” solar war: Israel’s first solar field company loses building permit and prepares for battle –– over sun rights and tariffs
The Israeli solar installation company SBY (Solar By Yourself) has effectively played a role in freezing Arava Solar’s building permit this weekend. In a much anticipated event happening today, Arava Power will not be able to connect its solar energy to the grid. Sad news because rapper Shyne, international and local media, and infrastructure and agriculture ministers from around the world are expected at the launch of Israel’s first solar farm today at Kibbutz Ketura, near the Israeli city of Eilat. Word on the ground is that the Israeli government has issued a limited number of feed-in tariffs, and once the allocations of solar energy feeding to the grid are achieved, feed-in tariffs and subsequently the profits of future solar energy installations become limited.
One solar energy company shutting down another over money.
Green Prophet spoke with Arava Power’s CEO, Jonathan Cohen this morning as the news broke: “Solar By Yourself has been aggressively attacking Ketura Sun and indeed all ground-based solar projects in Israel this past year and a half. We will of course prepare and address fully all claims against Ketura Sun’s building permit, as we have done thus far. We are proud to be fulfilling Ben Gurion’s vision this afternoon, launching the first substantial solar field in Israel, the first we anticipate of many to come.”
In response to why SBY has been working so aggressively to shut Arava Power down, with its first field called Ketrua Sun, Cohen tells Green Prophet: “Ketura Sun has received all licenses, permits and tariffs, $100 million has been invested in establishing this first solar field in Israel. Solar By Yourself claims will be addressed fully as they have been addressed this last 2 years through their crusade to block this and other ground-based projects.”
As for the launch today, it is expected to go ahead as planned: “The field is built, and we are hooking up with IEC [Israel Electric Company], and it is expected to start humming during these coming weeks.”
Over the next twenty years Ketura Sun’s 4.96 MW field is expected to spare the production of some 125,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. It will provide the power to three kibbutzim this summer, power equivalent to 7% of the energy needs of the nearby city Eilat.
SBY could not be reached for comment.
For more reading, see the articles below. The Jerusalem Post has a good preview of today’s event here.