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Israel’s largest solar field begins flowing to the national grid

ShowIxxmageAerial view of the 40-megawatt Ketura Solar field. (photo credit:EGE)

Arava Power Company CEO: In six days, a million-and-a-half kilowatt hours have been uploaded to the national grid

Officials in the Arava on Wednesday inaugurated Israel’s largest photovoltaic field, completing a journey six years in the making.

The system already began providing the country with electricity several days ago.

“In six days, a million-and-a-half kilowatt hours have been uploaded to the national grid,” Arava Power Company CEO Jon Cohen told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

The 40-megawatt Ketura Solar field, which is the second but biggest “large” field to go online in Israel, contains 140,343 panels spread over 54.2 hectares (133.4 acres) in the southern Arava Valley. An oasis of blue straddling a date orchard, the field is the shared product of Arava Power Company and Électricité de France Energies Nouvelles Israel.

The new field is located just across Route 90 from Kibbutz Ketura and the 4.95-megawatt Ketura Sun – the first medium- sized solar field in Israel and also a product of Arava Power.

“It’s been – since January 2009 – a six-and-a-half-year process from kickoff through launch,” Cohen said. “Here we are in July 2015, generating about 250,000 kilowatt hours a day.”

From start to finish, construction – which was carried out by the EGE consortium – took seven months, he explained. Simultaneously, Israel Electric built a substation for the field, and during a slightly longer period, erected the power line to carry electricity from the facility to the national grid, Cohen said.

The field is “at present, the largest solar installation in Israel,” he added.

It is the second large field to go online. The first was the 37.5-megawatt Neot Hovav field, launched by the Energix Group in December 2014.

Soon the 55-megawatt Enlight Renewable Energy Ltd. Haluziot field and the 50-megawatt Zmorot field, of which EDF Energies Nouvelles Israel is a stakeholder, are to begin operations.

Ayalon Vaniche, CEO of EDF Energies Nouvelles Israel, stressed that his company will continue to promote projects in the field of solar energy in the coming years and also expand its activity to wind energy. EDF Energies Nouvelles Israel operates 10 solar facilities in Israel, with a total installed capacity of 110 megawatts, and is celebrating six years of operation in the country. EDF Energies Nouvelles Israel is a subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles S.A., an arm of the French national electric corporation.

The Ketura Solar Project brings Arava Power’s installed capacity to more than 100 megawatts. Arava Power was co-founded in 2006 by Kibbutz Ketura, American-Israeli solar entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz and New Jersey businessman David Rosenblatt.

Kibbutz Ketura member Ed Hofland is the firm’s chairman, while partner agencies include the Phoenix Insurance Company and the Jewish National Fund.


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