Solar panels 311.
(photo credit: courtesy of AORA)
The Public Utility Authority on Tuesday put off a decision on whether to grant a
production license for the first medium- sized solar field on Beduin land – the
second such delay to occur in the past two weeks.
An approval of the
license would allow for the development of an 8-megawatt, 15- hectare (37-acre)
solar field by Arava Power Company on land owned by the Beduin Tarabin family.
Arava, the same company responsible for opening the country’s first medium-sized
solar field at Kibbutz Ketura in June, signed a contract with the Tarabin family
a year-and-a-half ago to build the field, the first such contract to be made
between a solar production company and Beduin community members, according to
the firm. Eighty percent of the funds for the project are slated to come from
OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation), an independent United States
If approved, the license would bring the Negev
minority population a unique opportunity for economic prosperity, according to
Arava Power. However, as the PUA continues to postpone its decision about the
Tarabin family license, more and more of the government’s 300- megawatt
allocation for medium- sized fields are being claimed, the company
“This continuous delay puts Israel in a negative light with the
American administration, which committed to financing Israel’s first Beduin
solar field,” Arava Power president Yosef Abramowitz said. “Every delay also
puts the Tarabin license application at a greater disadvantage vis-a-vis Jewish
licenses, since there is a very limited cap on the first-come, first-serve solar
The Tarabin family is looking forward to receiving a license
immediately, Abramowitz said.
“Justice and equality for the Beduin in the
solar program will only come about by creating a reserve cap for Beduin solar
fields,” he said.
The PUA said it is doing its utmost to confirm solar
installations that are on the standard that are set by it. The PUA did discuss
the Tarabin family’s solar license last week and is expected to discuss it again
soon, a spokesman said.