The Negev desert comprises more than half of the entire country, which enjoys an annual solar irradiance of 2,000kWh per square meters.
But now the Israeli government is stepping up its solar program with plans to ensure that by 2020, 10 percent of its overall energy mix will come from renewable sources.
Negev Energy, the new partnership between the Spanish and Israeli companies, will build and operate the 110 MW Parabolic Trough plant under a 25 year power purchase agreement. The energy they produce will sell for NIS0.76 per kilowatt hour, or $0.21.
Parabolic troughs are deployed less and less as photovoltaic cells become less costly, however the benefit of using this technology, which tracks the sun throughout the day to concentrate heat on a heat transfer fluid, is its ability to store the energy for use after dark.
Recall that Abengoa is the company behind the first solar power plant that can operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of weather conditions.
Although Israel doesn’t have much of an eco-conscience, seeing as it will do anything it can to get energy no matter how it comes, the Ashalim plant will divert 300,000 carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere every year once it is online.
Construction is expected to begin in 2014.
Image of Negev Desert, Shutterstock
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