New Negev Solar Field to Generate 1.5 Percent of Israel’s Power

Solar panels on the roof of a private home in Israel. (Chen Leopold/Flash 90)
Solar panels on the roof of a private home in Israel. (Chen Leopold/Flash 90)

A new government tender is to be issued in the coming months for the construction of a solar-based power plant in southern Israel. Issuance of the tender by a joint subcommittee of officials from the Finance and Energy ministries and the Israel Electric Company was authorized by the Finance Ministry for the construction of the power plant near Dimona.

The tender will see the construction of a solar panel field spread out over about 6,000 dunams of land in an industrial zone south of Dimona, in the central Negev desert. The field will produce 500 megawatt of electricity.

A pre-tender call to companies to present Requests for Proposals for the project attracted 12 proposals, 10 of which were approved for competition in the actual tender. Construction of the project will begin about a year after the tender is awarded, and the first electricity is expected to flow beginning in the second half of 2018.

The new field will produce 1.5 percent of all the power used in Israel. The government has set as a goal the production of 10 percent of all power used in Israel from alternative energy sources by 2020. Despite being a very sunny place, Israel has been very slow to adopt solar energy; currently, barely 5 percent of the country’s energy needs are supplied by the sun.