from the March 2014 issue

Solar power in Israel

The Negev Desert is home to the Israeli solar research industry, in particular the National Solar Energy Center and the Arava Valley, the sunniest region of Israel

Solar power in Israel refers to the use of solar energy in Israel, which began in the early days of the state. In the 1950s, Levi Yissar developed a solar water heater to address the energy shortages that plagued the new country. By 1967 around one in twenty households heated its water with the sun and 50,000 solar heaters had been sold. With the 1970s oil crisis, Harry Zvi Tabor, the father of Israel's solar industry, developed the prototype of the solar water heater now used in over 90% of Israeli homes. Israeli engineers are at the cutting edge of solar energy technology[3] and its solar companies work on projects around the world.

With no oil reserves and the country's tenuous relations with its oil-rich neighbors, the search for a stable source of energy is a national priority. Solar technology in Israel has advanced to the point where it is almost cost-competitive with fossil fuels. The high annual incidence of sunshine in the Negev Desert has spurred an internationally renowned solar research and development industry. At the end of 2008, a feed-in tariff scheme was approved which has led to many residential and commercial solar energy power station projects.

Israel's goal is to produce ten percent of the country's energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report March 2014

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