SBY Solar Blocks Arava Power Solar Field Launch Today

Arava Power solar energy sby
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.

Read more on Arava Power
Arava Launches Solar Field on World Environment Day
Time for a Six Day Solar War
Arava to Electrify the Negev Desert
Siemens on Solar Streak in News of Investment in Arava Power

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8 thoughts on “SBY Solar Blocks Arava Power Solar Field Launch Today”

  1. Me neither. When I was interviewing Arava I was thinking… wow. What a nasty company this SBY is. I was sure that they were jealously guarding the cap of feed-in tariffs, which they are. But they have a very good reason. I hope the government can find a compromise so both can do business in a healthy environment. Coordinating this with 24 ministries though will be a nightmare…

  2. A recent article in Haaretz newspaper explains why SBY is trying to block Arava’s sun, and it makes sense:

    “Solar-By-Yourself says they have invested over NIS 1 million in the last two years to promote roof-based solar panels in Israel and have waged a campaign in the courts to prevent the progress of field-based solar panel projects.

    “SBY strategic adviser Lior Datz says that the company opposes Arava Power’s plans on various grounds: ecology, economy and efficiency.

    “In Israel, land resources are on the verge of extinction, and therefore they must be preserved,” Datz said. “That’s why we must give preference to rooftops and not develop the land.”

    1. Oh, that’s very interesting Karin. That hadn’t occurred to me at all.

  3. DS says:

    Man, SBY is like the Shuki Weiss of the solar industry. Nobody plays if they don’t pay.

  4. Nofia Shem Tov says:

    maybe if they do Teshuva and pay Joel Altman for his stolen plans they’ll get their permits back..G-d is watching all of us.

  5. Nofia Shem Tov says:

    In the 1980’s Joel Altman, an Electrical Engineer with a Master’s from University of Kentucky and with several years of Air Force experience and then NASA work under his belt, applied to a technology company in Israel for a job so he could make Aliyah with his family of 4. The company stole his plans for a solar field in Israel but ignored him and never hired him. MAZAL TIV THIEVES!!!!!!!!!1

    1. What company? Nofia can you clarify? I have emailed SBY and was not able to get a comment from them about this story.

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