Solar Field 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Arava Power Company (APC) signed agreements last week with two Beduin clans to
build solar fields on their land, the first such deal ever signed, the company
The Tarabin and Abu Karinat families agreed to lease
land to APC to build 20 MW worth of solar fields on 370 dunams at a cost of NIS
This is the first time any company has signed a land deal
with the Beduin to build solar fields. Moreover, the Overseas Private
Corporation of the US (OPIC) has agreed to provide a loan for 80 percent
cost, or some NIS 300m.
APC was the first solar company to sign land
deals with kibbutzim and moshavim in the Negev and the Arava to allocate
for solar fields.
Finding available land has been of major concern to the
solar industry. The government has emphasized rooftops as a natural
source, but has also been rezoning land for solar fields.
seemingly wide open, the Negev and the Arava are largely taken up by IDF
ranges, nature reserves and sensitive open spaces. However, APC has
contended that just the kibbutzim and moshavim land could represent
one gigawatt (GW). Now, the company says it has found a potential source
“We are proud of the contract with Arava Power – a reliable
company that respects our connection and rights to the land and whose
to the Beduin community represents a brave step,” Haj Musa Tarabin said
“I very much hope the initiative will come to fruition as soon
as possible so that finally we can see some vibrant business activity in
area, which for many years was empty and dormant,” Musa Abu Karinat
addition, we will contribute to protecting the environment and
Negev for the benefit of all of its residents.”
Avishai Braverman praised the deal and said his ministry would help
initiative, which would supply new sources of income to the Beduin
MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List-Ta’al) also praised the new
“We are pleased that a company like Arava Power, and its
business partner the German company Siemens, are investing and creating
the Beduin community, which has been neglected for many years.
that the cooperation will afford new economic opportunities for the
have the lowest economic status in Israel,” he said.
APC CEO John Cohen
characterized the decision as another in a line of pioneering steps the
“APC was the pioneer that signed agreements to build solar
fields on moshavim and kibbutzim, and we are proud to be the first
initiate solar fields in the Negev in general, and specifically in
with the Negev’s Beduin community. From our perspective, it is both a
and a social investment which will advance the Beduin community and the
These agreements are only the beginning of longterm cooperation with the
and Abu-Karinat families and the Beduin community,” he said.
where the solar fields will be erected benefits from sun all year round,
makes it an optimal site, from a global perspective, for producing solar
energy,” he added.
The government has declared a goal of reaching 5% of
electricity from renewable resources by 2014 and another 5% by 2020.
company declined to elaborate on the specific legal mechanisms that
agreements. APC was founded in 2006, and in 2009, Siemens acquired a 40%
in the company.