The conglomerate slated to build a 121-megawatt solar-thermal facility at Ashalim have reached financial close to design, construct and operate the NIS 2.8 billion project, the Finance Ministry announced on Thursday.

The project is expected to be the largest of its kind in the world, the ministry said.

Megalim Solar Power Ltd., a joint venture between Bright- Source Energy, Alstom and the Noy Fund, were selected as the winners of the an interministerial tender committee to fulfill the project plans in November 2012.

“This is the largest scale project that will be built in the Negev, in territories that have thus far served as firing ranges, with the aim of establishing a project integrated by international bodies and local and foreign financiers,” said senior deputy accountant- general, and interministerial tender committee chairman, Yariv Nehama.

The solar-thermal power plant is expected to begin operations during the second half of 2017. This facility, combined with another solar-thermal plant and photovoltaic plant in the region, are expected to provide about 1 percent of the national electricity needs – with a total capacity of about 270 MWs, the Finance Ministry said. Together, the three plants will contribute significantly toward achieving the government’s target of reaching 10% electricity through renewable sources by the year 2020, the ministry added.

“The financial close of the solar-thermal plan in Ashalim represents another significant step in an important and big project in the field of renewable energy, which will significantly increase the production of electricity from renewable energy sources,” said Orna Hozman-Bechor, director- general of the National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry.

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