Photo Voltaic Electricity a major focus in Israel
The Govt of Israel has decided to transfer 520 MW of energy quotas to Photo Voltaic Electricity, giving it precedence over other renewables. After two years of vetting the merits of PV solar technology, the Govt of Israel has finally given a green signal to diverting some 520 MW of quotas to solar PV. The government has also given the go ahead for the land tender of a 30 MW solar PV park in Ashalim, which will also boast two CSP plants, bringing the total solar capacity to 270 MW, said the ministry of national infrastructures, energy and water. Judea and Samaria, in the West Bank region, have also been granted 30 MW of the 520 MW quota. Israel’s government has been long considering to divert to solar PV.
Moves from wind to solar
Gadi Hareli, CEO of Israel’s Wind Energy Association (IsraWEA), told pv magazine in February: “this was the third time the Ministry of Energy attempted to convert part of the 2020 quota from wind to solar.” Renewable energy industry contacts explained to pv magazine, a decision to divert quotas was rejected by minister of finance Yair Lapid on the grounds PV investments in the West Bank are at risk in the event of a permanent political settlement with the Palestinians. For this reason, the inter-ministerial committee for Renewable Energy determined in February the state would guarantee the debt owed by developers to financial institutions.
Subsidy scheme yet to be determined –Eitan Parnass, founder of the Green Energy Association, Israel’s main green energy lobbying group promoting solar PV, has welcomed the news saying: “we were waiting for this since 2012.” Parnass told pv magazine: “There is still debate on the tariff mechanism and whether it will be by tender or not, but most possibly the answer is that the subsidy scheme will be based on competitive tenders where the lowest feed-in tariff tendered will get a license to build the plant.” Israeli subsidies for solar PV are a complex issue. The country has gone from a feed-in tariff (FIT) model – which itself evolved into a different form – to land tenders, to net metering and recently the government has made clear it wants to use new competitive tenders based on FIT bidding. Renewables in Israel provide only one per cent of the country’s electricity but the solar sector is determined to change that at what seems like the lowest cost possible. Beside the 520 MW quota of renewable energies diverted to PV, Israel also announced recently the tender for the first phase of the 170 MW Timna Solar Park in Eilat, southern Israel.
The September issue of pv magazine ran an article analysing Israel’s complicated subsidy schemes for PV in full detail.