10-megawatt solar facility in Dimona to generate electricity day and night

Backup biomass station will operate in the winter when the sun isn't strong enough.

February 10, 2015 20:21
2 minute read.
renmiller's pilot solar facility in the Negev

renmiller's pilot solar facility in the Negev. (photo credit: PR)

The Tel Aviv-based Brenmiller Energy will establish a 10-megawatt solar power station in Dimona, capable of supplying electricity to consumers both day and night, the company announced.

The NIS 300 million solar field, which will employ a storage technology developed by the company over the past three years, will be capable of generating electricity from solar energy for an average of 20 hours a day on a typical summer’s day. Backing up the facility will be one that produces electricity through biomass, otherwise known as organic waste, the company said on Monday.

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The solar field south of Beersheba is expected to generate electricity an average of four times more hours per day than any existing solar fields in the country, the firm added.

“We should be able to deliver energy when needed and not just when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing,” Avi Brenmiller, the company’s president and CEO, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Brenmiller, who previously was CEO of Solel Solar Systems and has been involved in the solar industry for decades, stressed that solar energy and other renewable sources must become mainstream rather than niche players in the energy market.

The key to solving this issue is finding economically feasible storage mechanisms for when the sun is not shining, as well as hybridizing the solar fields with other backup sources, he said.

“It has to be economical,” Brenmiller said. “People are less willing to pay extra for getting this renewable, clean energy.”

The Dimona facility would yield about 20 hours’ worth of electricity from solar energy on an average summer day, he explained. On the sunniest summer days, however, when the sun is shining a good nine to 10 hours, the Brenmiller Energy solar field may be capable of providing 24 hours’ worth of electricity, Brenmiller said.

In the winter, when the sun is not strong enough to meet electricity needs, the backup biomass station will be particularly critical.

“It makes a lot of sense to combine fuels,” Brenmiller said The 10-megawatt solar field will be established as part of a pilot facility, after receiving the approval of the National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry.

About 150 jobs will be created in the area, the firm said.

“This type of solution will be replicated in every place, especially in places like Africa and developing countries where there is no grid,” Brenmiller said.

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