Israel Breaks Its Own Solar Power Production Record
On a bright, sunny, cloudless Saturday Israel did it. It broke its solar power record. According to the Israel Electric Corporation, at that precise time, solar energy was producing 13.4% of the total electricity being consumed in the county.
“We are very proud of this,” said Oren Hellman of the corporation. “But it is a specific record. The high percentage level comes because it was a Saturday and the weather was perfect for renewable energy. This proves we can do it.”
Greenpeace Israel likewise affirmed their pride. Jonathan Aikhenbaum, a campaign manager at Greenpeace is quoted on the Ynet news site, “This proves that when you want, when obstacles are removed, the solar revolution is gaining strength. A combination of sun and innovation is finally putting Israel on the map. The day is not far off where we will reach 100% from solar energy, like Denmark achieved from wind energy last year.”
Though Israel is the (other) Sunshine State, and has a healthy solar energy industry, it still has some way to go until it reaches the goals of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as outlined in the Paris Agreement of 2016. These goals are 20% energy from renewable sources by 2020 and 27% by 2030.
Still, there are regions of Israel that are more than doing their share of solar production. The Arava region is 70% powered by sun during the day, and by 2020 will be at 100%. This summer Arava Power installed a 40-megawatt field at Kibbutz Ketura, which supplies a third of Eilat’s daytime energy. Over the next five years a 60-megawatt field will be constructed near Timna, also in the South.
Then there is the Ashelim Project. The centerpiece of this project will be the world’s tallest solar tower, reaching 250 meters (820 feet). According to the Israel Electricity Authority, Ashelim will generate 310 megawatts of power, which accounts for 1.6% of the country’s energy needs. In other words, this would mean enough energy for 130,000 households, comprising 5% of Israel’s population. Literally more power to the people.