(photo credit: Courtesy Shikun Vebinuini and Suntech)
The Negev Desert will soon become a little bit brighter with the announcement of
two future solar fields, one of which will be built in David Ben-Gurion’s former
Shari Arison’s Shikun Vebinui Group has teamed up with
Chinese solar panel giant Suntech Power Holdings, Co. Ltd. to build 11 megawatts
worth of photovoltaic panels in two Negev Desert plots. A 5- megawatt field will
be installed on 9 hectares at Kibbutz Sde Boker – former home to Ben- Gurion.
Meanwhile a 6- megawatt field will crop up on 10 hectares at Kibbutz Hatzerim,
just west of Beersheba, and about 55 kilometers north of Sde
Together, the fields will have an annual production capacity of
19.91 gigawatt-hours and will thereby offset about 13,000 tons of carbon
emissions, the companies said.
While the monetary value of the project
was not officially published, market sources have estimated the plans to be
worth approximately $20 million.
Recalling Ben-Gurion’s vision 57 years
ago of constructing a solar field on Kibbutz Sde Boker, the firms stressed how
proud they are to be able to fulfill that dream.
Over the past five
years, Suntech has deployed over 100 megawatts of solar panels in Israel through
its local distributor Enerpoint Israel, accounting for almost half of all of the
panels in Israel, according to the firm. The company’s panels power Israel’s
first mediumsized and largest solar field to date, Arava Power Company’s
4.95-megawatt Ketura Sun field in the Arava Desert. While Suntech’s solar panels
are specially designed to withstand hot desert climates, the company has opened
a testing center in the Negev to continue evaluating the most cost effective and
efficient panels for the Israeli market, the firm said.
has provided more than 25 million photovoltaic panels to over 1,000 customers in
more than 80 countries.
“We choose Suntech’s panels for their durability
and reliability,” said Amir Levy, CEO of Shikun Vebinui Renewable Energy. “We
have worked with Suntech for many years and look forward to a close
collaboration in the future.”
Shikun Vebinui Renewable Energy operates
electricity production facilities in both Israel and abroad, partaking in the
engineering, procurement and construction procedures for photovoltaic stations
as well as solar-thermal facilities, the firm said. The company recently
acquired 15 megawatts of photovoltaic sites in Spain, generating electricity and
selling it to the Spanish grid.
“These solar fields at Sde Boker and
Hatzerim will be some of the largest in Israel,” said Ron Shen, Vice President
of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region for Suntech .
valued partner, Shikun Vebinui, has worked for a longtime to successfully
complete these projects. Now that Israel has hit grid parity, we look forward to
continuing to work closely with each other to develop the market.”