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European Investment Bank Provides €150 Million Loan To Israel’s Largest Solar Power Project

Israel Solar Troughs

Solar troughs in the Negev desert of Israel

Israel is working towards achieving its goal to source 10% of its total electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2020. In this endeavor the country has received a major financial boost, with the European Investment Bank providing €150 million loan to the largest solar power project in Israel.

The 121 MW solar thermal power plant would be located in the country’s Negav desert and would use concentrating solar power tower technology to generate electricity. The project consists of the construction of a thermo-solar power plant on an area of approximately 3.15 million square meters. The project is being constructed by a joint venture between Alstom and Israel’s Brightsource Energy.

As of 2013, Israel’s installed power capacity stood at about 13,000 MW which generated around 57,067 GWh electricity with renewable energy projects contributing just 0.87%. The Ministry of Environment Protection expects this share to increase to 2.24% by the end of 2014, as the 134 approved renewable energy projects would be commissioned this year. The ministry, however, does not expected the Negev CSP project to be commissioned this year.

As of 30 June 2013, the country had 78 operational renewable energy projects with a cumulative capacity of 277 MW. These projects generate electricity at an average cost of $0.42 per kWh, while the new projects with an aggregate capacity of 449 MW would have an average generation cost of about $0.27 per kWh.

With the addition of these new projects, the total renewable energy capacity in Israel would reach 726 MW, enough to generate 1,279 GWh of electricity (excluding hydro power) and contributing 2.24% to the country’s electricity production.

Solar power projects dominate the renewable energy sector in Israel, with about 92% of the estimated installed capacity by the end of 2014, and having a cumulative capacity of 703 MW.

Israel, in 2009, had mentioned its goal to achieve 10% renewable energy share in country’s electricity generation. The commitment was reiterated in 2011 and supported by a feed-in tariff program and capacity quotas for large solar thermal and PV installations, rooftop PV installations, electricity generation from wind, biogas, biomass, and waste. The Treasury also agreed to start issuing licenses for large solar fields. In 2010, the government also announced a plan to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 from a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario, through an investment of $640 million in renewable energy, energy efficiency and transportation sectors.

Image credit: David Shankbone | CC BY-SA 3.0

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Written By

Mridul currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.


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