Groups demand increase in rooftop solar quotas

Green groups argue allowing more solar roof installations would be simple way of helping bridge gaps that may occur this summer.

Solar Water Heating 521 (photo credit: M.O. Stevens)
Solar Water Heating 521
(photo credit: M.O. Stevens)
Eight environmental organizations appealed to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday asking that he promote an increase in the quota for photovoltaic rooftop panels, in light of the anticipated electricity shortages this summer.
In their letter, which was released to the press on Thursday, the organizations argued that allowing more solar roof installations would be a simple and clean way of helping bridge the gaps that might occur this summer. The eight groups were the Society for the Protection of Nature (SPNI), the Israel Forum for Energy, the Renewable Energy Association of Israel, Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense), Life and Environment umbrella group for green organizations, Greenpeace Mediterranean, Israel Green Building Council and Green Course.
“Not taking advantage of available solar energy, which is sustainable and green, is a scandal,” a statement from SPNI said.
This March, when the government made an additional quota of 35 megawatts for solar roof panels available, within minutes Internet applications for over 100 megawatts flowed in, the letter explained. Meanwhile, at the coming cabinet meeting on Monday, the ministers are expected to discuss a proposal for handling the summer’s electricity shortage that does not include any solar additions, according to the letter.
“This proposal utterly disregards the existing and available potential of constructing solar roofs, which stands at more than 300 megawatts and much of which can flow already by this summer,” the organizations wrote. “The potential is not being realized due to absurdly limited quotas, despite the fact that solar roof construction has great advantages.
We call upon you to work toward immediately approving quotas for the installation of photovoltaic solar roof devices, at a scope of no less than 70 megawatts – to realize immediately the available potential of solar and green energy.”
Jon Cohen, CEO of Arava Power Company, agreed that increasing the quota would be beneficial.
“Greenlighting the immediate deployment of additional rooftop systems will supply the grid tens of megawatts of clean electricity at peak hours by this summer,” Cohen told The Jerusalem Post. “This, in combination with the hundreds of megawatts ground mounted systems will supply by next summer, and hundreds more the following summer, will have a major impact on peak hour coverage, as well as making our air healthier to breathe.”
Likewise on Wednesday, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan sent a letter to Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau asking him to increase solar production quotas by bringing forth a proposal for government approval. Such an effort, Erdan argued, would be instrumental in dealing with energy shortages.
The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the matter, while the Energy and Water Ministry said that it received the request to incorporate solar quotas into the proposal and it will examine the matter.