Surprisingly for a country with few native energy resources, Israel has only now issued licenses to build photovoltaic and thermal solar-energy plants. The two plants that were licensed last week, according to The Jerusalem Post (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1231167306808&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull) , are to be built by Arava Power (http://www.aravapower.com/) and E.D.I.G. Solar (http://www.edig.co.il/archive/en/s_about) . The Arava PV plant will be the first PV facility to be linked to the national electric grid.
The PV project, to be built at Kibbutz Ketura in the Negev Desert, will occupy 20 acres and is of sufficient size and design to generate 5 megawatts of electricity, according to Globes Online (http://www.aravapower.com/globes-jan72009.pdf). Interestingly the licenses envision that the facility will be built and be connected to the grid, supplying electricity within 18 months, and the overall plan calls for 15 kibbutzim to host such facilities to generate 500 megawatts of power for the national grid.
Globes also reported that Arava Power is negotiating with AES Corp (NYSE:AES) to join it in the project as both strategic and financial partner. (http://www.aes.com/aes/index?page=home). AES has projects in several renewable-energy fields, perhaps most notably wind energy.
E.D.I.G. Solar has developed a solar-hybrid gas-turbine engine based on its work with the Weizmann Institute of Science (http://www.weizmann.ac.il/). Its base units are comprised of fields of mirrors that continuously track the sun, and reflect the rays into a Power Conversion Unit that generates electricity from the heat.
The E.D.I.G. Solar layout is said to be designed to accommodate the needs of remote users who are not connected to the national or other electrical grid. Since it is for remote locations, it will need to have an energy storage component to provide electrcity at night and during times when solar energy is not being produced for other reasons.
One company with a strategy for storing renewable energy at remote locations is New Castle, PA-based Axion Power International, which has designed and built a mobile, transportable “Cube” of its PbC batteries for just such purposes. (http://www.axionpower.com)