In contrast to the stark, dry backdrop of the Negev Desert in #Israel, a bright pillar of light stands tall. This pillar is comprised of 500,000 concave mirrors that capture heat from the desert sun and help power the new Asalim #Solar Thermal Power Station near Highway 6 in Israel. The 121-megawatt #solar power station sits on 4,000 acres of land. It is the largest solar #energy project in Israel to date and among the largest solar energy projects in the world. Just four months since the launch of the mirror-fueled solar operation, this solar power station is already providing renewable energy for nearly 70,000 Israeli homes.
The solar station is a collaborative endeavor made possible by Shikun & Binui Group, Noy Fund, TSK, and Negev Energy, a subsidiary of Shikun & Binui. The entire project cost around $4 billion in New Israeli Shekel, equating to around $1.13 billion in U.S. currency.
Mirrors and Solar Energy: How it Works
The Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station was first envisioned back in September 2013 by CEO of Negev Energy, Didi Paz. Constructed with 16,000 parabolic troughs and half a million mirrors, this solar power station is unlike anything the solar energy realm has seen before. This giant collection of concave mirrors can convert solar energy into steam, which is then used to generate clean electricity.
In addition to its efficiency, this particular solar structure is highly innovative. While most solar stations are unable to capture solar energy during the night time hours, the solar mirrored tower can provide power to the solar plant for an extra 4.5 hours after the sun has set. This particular feature is a major step forward for solar energy and speaks to where we are headed in terms of capturing solar energy, regardless of the time of day.
Meeting Israel’s Renewable Energy Goals
This mammoth solar project is anticipated to provide Israel with at least 1 percent of its renewable energy needs. It is the hope among the nation’s leaders that this project is just the beginning of renewable and solar innovation in the country. Yuval #Steinitz, Israel’s Minister of Energy, told the Jewish National Syndicate (JNS) that Israel has already begun to make shifts in the right direction when it comes to solar and renewable energies. Coal and diesel usage in the country is already down from 65 percent to under 30 percent. Steinitz has also stated that there are several planned closures for the nation’s coal-burning facilities. Israel’s goal is to provide at least 10 percent of the nation’s energy needs with solar and clean energy resources by the end of 2020. By 2030, Steinitz hopes that the country can end its dependence on polluting fuels and continue focusing on constructing solar farms and plants in the coming decades.
Taking Solar Energy into Their Own Hands
To meet said goals laid out by Steinitz, Mayor of the Ramat HaNegev Regional Council, Eran Doron, told JNS that community efforts will be the most important factor when it comes to making Israel a sustainable and greener place to live. Further privatization of the solar industry in Israel is also on the minds of its leaders for both the growth of the industry itself and the continued drop in solar energy start-up costs.
Majority owner of Shikun & Binui, Naty Saidoff, told JNS that this solar project is not only adequate for meeting the environmental and sustainability goals set out by the country, but it will also provide job creation for those in the surrounding Negev region.
In the wake of our worldwide environmental crisis, Israel is emerging as one of the top leaders in solar energy innovation and production. Around the world, it is imperative that all nations work to provide clean energy for their citizens and set goals that will ensure a sustainable world for future generations. Focusing on solar energy production and the implementation of other renewable resources will allow us to begin to heal our Earth and move forward on a path that will ensure the survival of the human race.