The National Infrastructure Ministry has completed its process of adopting
regulations for medium-sized solar fields in Judea and Samaria, and residents
will be able to begin submitting applications to build fields shortly, the
ministry said Tuesday.
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“The injustice has been repaired – electricity
generation from solar energy is also for residents of Judea and Samaria,” said
National Infrastructure Minister Dr. Uzi Landau in a statement.
the past few days, the ministry finished creating regulations for the
installation of medium- sized photovoltaic fields, which will occur in
conjunction with the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria – the governing
body for the region. Securing this right for the Judean and Samarian residents
were part of the “uncompromising terms” set forth by Landau when voting on
amendments to the country’s renewable energy policies in July, according to the
While erecting small-sized rooftop panels in the region was
authorized about a year ago, building medium-sized facilities has been
essentially impossible up until now, as doing so would require going through a
complex and unique process with the civil administration, the ministry
In mid-July, however, the cabinet approved a plan to overhaul
Israel’s entire renewable-energy system, in which residents of Judea and Samaria
would receive 10 percent of the current nationwide 300-megawatt allocation for
medium-sized solar fields, as well as 10 percent of the new allocations in other
types of renewable energy.
The new regulations included a quota of 460
megawatts for large solar fields – which had been zero before, but still lacks
any regulations nationwide – as well as an additional 110 megawatts to the
currently maxed-out cap of small solar rooftop panels – 20 to be added in 2011,
30 in 2012, 30 in 2013 and 30 in 2014.
Outside of the solar industry, the
regulations added 800 megawatts for wind power and 210 for biofuels.
the time, Landau likened the specific slice for the Judea and Samaria region to
“Publishing the current regulation is a correction
to the injustice that prevented Judea and Samaria residents from taking part in
an effort to achieve a vision of green roofs for the production of clean solar
energy that is sold to the Electricity Authority,” Landau said in a
Anyone with Israeli citizenship – Jewish, Arab or anything
else – can make use of the newly allocated quotas to Judea and Samaria, but
virtually all of the region’s Israeli citizens are Jews. This fact irked Hanna
Siniora, co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, who
had told The Jerusalem Post in July that Palestinians without Israeli
citizenship should have access to the quotas, since they buy electricity from
For the group Green Yesha, however, a renewable energies advocacy
team in Judea and Samaria, the adoption of official regulations for medium
fields is a huge achievement.
“We are happy that it happened,” Adi Mintz,
CEO of Green Yesha, a member of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea,
Samaria and the Gaza Strip and a resident of the settlement Dolev, told the Post
on Tuesday. “We waited so much for this regulation and we intend to make all the
needed effort to act on it – to send the applications to the Administration and
to build solar farms in Judea and Samaria.”
Mintz said his group already
has applications for several fields prepared to submit to the civil
administration, and he is uncertain whether other groups also intend to submit
requests. The Green Yesha fields will be financed by Amana, a large Judea and
Samara financing company, and are intended to be within Jordan Valley
communities, as well as other places, according to Mintz.
“In 30 days
from now we can give the applications to the civil administration, but it will
take time to get the tariffs,” he said.
“They have to calculate and
review all the applications and then they will give an interim license. It’s a
process, but the same process as all the other solar farms in
While others involved in the solar industry support the effort
to make renewable energy accessible to all citizens, they expressed concern
about the limitations imposed by the current quotas all over Israel.
sun doesn’t recognize any boundaries, so a vision of a solarpowered Middle East
should be embraced by everyone regardless of present or future boundaries,” MK
Einat Wilf, a staunch supporter of solar energy, told the Post. “It is
important, however, not to politicize solar power in any way, or to cap it. This
is yet another reason Israel should lift the modest caps on solar
Meanwhile, the president of Arava Power, the company responsible
for launching Israel’s first medium-sized solar field, said that the
“affirmative action” model used to bring solar energy to Judea and Samaria
should be extended to the country’s Beduin population.
“The notion of an
affirmative action carved out of 30 megawatts of solar power should also be
applied to the Beduin citizens of Israel, who have been at a disadvantage in the
licensing process due to the complexity of land rights,” said Arava president
Yosef Abramowitz. “Such a move will be welcomed in the name of social justice,
equal opportunity and advancing the south as a renewable area zone. If no
affirmative action is taken, Beduin participation in the solar opportunity will
be close to nonexistent.”