Arava Solar Field 311.
(photo credit: Sharon Udasin)
The settlement city of Ma’aleh Adumim can now save half-a million shekels a year
by placing solar panels on 17 of its schools, thanks to renewable energy
regulations that passed the cabinet on Sunday.
Although the regulations
raise the quota of renewable energy for the whole country, their affect will be
felt most keenly in Judea and Samaria, according to officials from the National
$524m. in green energy investments may go to W. Bank
Future solar installations could be shifted to West Bank
Until now there was no quota assigned to Judea
and Samaria and settlers were struggling to obtain approval for renewable energy
projects from the civil administration, officials said.
Now, 10 percent
of the allocation for renewable energy projects has been shifted to the West Bank. The new allocation places a cap on settlement projects of 46 megawatts for
large solar fields, 80 megawatts for wind power and 21 megawatts for bio fuels.
In addition, there is a cap of 11 megawatts for small solar roof top projects,
such as the ones that have been on hold in Ma’aleh Adumim.
megawatts are to be spread over the next four years, with a 2-megawatt cap for
2011 and 3 megawatts for each year after that.
The national cap was not
raised on medium-size solar fields, but 30 megawatts of the 300 megawatt
allocation has now been reallocated to settlements.
If this quota is
fully used, the total investment in renewable energy for West Banks settlements
could reach $660.8 million.
According to Adi Mintz, who heads the
settlers environmental group Green Yesha, construction of a solar field in Judea
and Samaria could take a year-and-a-half to complete.
Small wind projects
could take six months and larger ones several years.
Mintz said that
studies have shown that the force of the winds in Judea and Samaria make it an
ideal place for such projects.
The most immediate affect of the new
regulations can be felt in the roof-top solar panels, where a number of projects
such as those in Ma’aleh Adumim were on hold.
But Mintz said that around
other 40 solar roof-top panels had already been approved ahead of Sunday’s
Meir Abudram, who is in charge of solar projects for Ma’aleh
Adumim, said that the city had been preparing to install the panels for months
in hopes that the new rules would be approved.
Now, it hopes to have the
solar panels on the 17 schools operational by January at the latest, Abudram
said. He explained that the panels would save up to NIS 30,000 a year at each
school, with a potential annual annual saving on electricity bills for all 17
schools of half-a-million shekels.
The proposal to allocate 10% of
renewable energy to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria was put forward by
National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau (Israel Beiteinu), who has said
that the issue was one of basic civil rights for the residents.Sharon
Udasin contributed to this report.