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A light unto the nations
By SHARON UDASIN
25/11/2012
Jerusalem-based global solar firm Energiya Global aims to transform developing countries into photovoltaic oases.
 
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An abandoned landfill in the heart of the Galapagos Islands will soon see its garbage-strewn terrain replaced by a modest solar field – a welcome change for a biologically diverse archipelago that runs almost exclusively on diesel fuel.

Known for their uniquely endemic species since the explorations of Charles Darwin on the Beagle ship, the volcanic Galapagos are situated about 970 kilometers west of their mother country, Ecuador, in the Pacific Ocean.

With a utility infrastructure independent of Ecuador proper, however, the Galapagos Islands are still burning almost nothing but diesel fuel to generate the electricity necessary for their people, explains Dona Levy, vice president for business development at the new Jerusalem-based firm Energiya Global.

The historical importance of the archipelago’s flora and fauna has therefore driven Energiya to make the islands one of its first ventures in developing photovoltaic solar fields around the globe.

“It’s sad to say that the Galapagos Islands are still using fossil fuels to produce electricity,” Levy says. “Of all places in the world.”

“It’s a World Heritage nature site,” adds Yosef Abramowitz, the company’s president and co-founder.

Abramowitz is also the president and founder of the Arava Power Company, the firm responsible for the June 2011 launch of Israel’s first medium-sized solar field, Ketura Sun, at Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava.

To date, the new company has deals under way for a total of 59 megawatts of solar power across the world, which are nearing financial close, as well as another 250 MW under intermediate development, according to Abramowitz. In addition to the $4 million the company has already invested, DS Apex Mergers & Acquisitions announced on October 28 that it would be leading a $10m. fund-raising effort for Energiya – the same day Abramowitz was named “Person of the Year” at an Israeli energy convention.

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