The National Planning and Building Council on Tuesday approved National Master
Plan 10D, which dictates guidelines for the construction of solar power plants,
removing one more bureaucratic barrier for an industry that some contend has
suffered from a complex licensing process.
The plan gives preference to
the construction of solar installations on rooftops and up to 750 dunams of land
in the periphery. It completely prohibits installations in open spaces in the
center of the country, and provides protection for open spaces of environmental
or natural value.
Ground-based systems will require a lengthier licensing
process than rooftop installations due to the need for rezoning and other
The planning and building council said the master plan
represented the way forward in implementing a government decision to produce 10
percent of the country’s electricity from renewable resources by 2020. The plan
must still be approved by the cabinet.
Private entrepreneurs have long
complained that incomplete bureaucratic guidelines have been stifling the
potential growth of the Israeli solar market.
There have also been claims
that the licensing process of the Public Utility Authority–Electricity (PUA) is
too complicated and requires too many affidavits of various types.
PUA has been quick to counter that its goal is to enable measured growth of the
solar industry by minimizing costs as the price of constructing solar fields
drops. It is not quite yet interested in giving free rein to the solar market so
that it rises or falls on the back of free market forces.
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week, the PUA granted the first tariff approval for a mediumsized field to
Ketura Sun, which plans to build a 4.9 MW solar field adjacent to Kibbutz
Ketura. The tariff approval confirms that the government will pay NIS 1.49 per
kilowatt produced for the next 20 years.
Approval is conditional upon
Ketura Sun securing financing within 90 days.
However, tariff approval is
generally the key to obtaining financing.
In other solar news, Sunday
Energy and geothermal energy company Ormat last week signed an agreement to
build rooftop solar energy installations for a total output of 22 MW at an
estimated cost of NIS 350 million.
Two years ago, Sunday contracted with
Ormat to install 1 MW worth of solar panels on the roof of the latter’s factory
Fifty kilowatts of that installation have already been
Last week’s agreement marked the third deal between the two
companies in the past two years. Last year, they signed an agreement to develop
36 MW of open-land-based solar fields. However, since the national master plan,
which regulates the rezoning of land, had not yet been approved and was seen at
the time to favor roof-based systems, the 22 MW installation will probably
precede the 36 MW plant, being completed in 2011.
Sunday has 200 MWworth
of projects in the pipeline, with 40 MW, including those in the latest
agreement, on rooftops.
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