Archive for July, 2008

Israeli Solar Thermal Technology

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Hi Everyone!

From 1984 to 1991 I worked at Intel Electronics in Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem. In the backyard of one of the buildings in Har Hotzvim were several rows of curved mirrors which were lined up toward the sun. Why were these mirrors lined up in the back of the building ? I asked around and I found out that these parabolic reflectors were owned by the Luz company. In fact, these refectors were part of the development of the largest solar energy system in the world.

The general idea is very easy to understand. The reflectors focus the sun on a tube filled with liquid. The liquid in the tubes becomes super heated. The liquid is passed through heat exchangers which generate steam. The steam is used to power a turbine which creates electricity. There are more details but the concept is well understood and has been in use for several decades. In fact, when I was a kid back in the 60’s, I remember going outside with a magnifying glass and focusing the sun’s rays to burn things. The power of the sun has been around for a long time (even before I was a kid) but only in the last few years has it caught the world’s attention. Maybe the fossil fuel pollution and high oil prices have something to do with that.

I do not think the reflectors are in that backyard any more. The company that bought Luz’s technology (when Luz 1 folded) was Solel Inc. based in Bet Shemesh. Solel is developing a 553 Megawatt power plant, in California’s Mojave Desert. It will be the largest solar thermal power plant in the world. In Spain it is working, together with a local partner, on the development of three 50 MW solar thermal power plants. I am sure there are many other countries seriously considering using this Israeli know-how. The technology that started in the backyard at Har Hotzvim in Jerusalem, is bringing solar powered electricity to the masses. A literal “light unto the nations”. Kol Hakavod!
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Several people have contacted me regarding solar air conditioners. I am in the process of gathering information and I will let everyone know when I have a complete picture of what is available in Israel. I may also create a new FAQ, Cooling & Heating Your Home or Business with Solar energy.
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If you live in the Jerusalem area and are planning to install a new solar energy photovoltaic system, please let me know. I would like to follow the actual process with you and take pictures (maybe a movie) of the process.

Until next week…..

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov,

Israeli Bank Loans for Solar Energy Systems

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Hi Everyone!

Thanks to all those that wrote to me with comments, suggestions and well-wishes regarding the launch of the new solar energy website. Many of the suggestions included links to additional solar energy companies in Israel and additional resouce links. I added them to the companies and links pages on the website. I plan on adding additional resources to the site as they come in.
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During the past 3 weeks since the new electric feed-in tariffs were announced, interest in purchasing solar energy systems in Israel has increased. However, the cost for a residential system is still expensive (around 75,000 shekels).  Banks are now beginning to offer long term loans for purchasing a solar (photovoltaic) energy system for your home or business.

I contacted Bank Hapoalim this week to get the specifics about the loans available. Here is what they said:

For private individuals the official loan terms are:
up to NIS 110,000
up to 10 years
Interest rate is floating rate at Prime + 2%.
(the prime rate is currently 5.25%)
All terms and security/collateral arrangements need to be finalized with the branch involved.

I assume that many of the other banks will be offering similar loans. If you apply for such a loan and the terms are better, please let me know so I can tell everyone.
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Several people emailed me about a company in Israel that is planning to build affordable solar homes in Israel. The company called Real Housing Ltd. already contstructed  a 70 square meter model home in Ashalim, Ramat Negev. To reduce the need to turn on energy-using equipment these houses will be well insulated. They will be heated and cooled using high-efficiency heat pumps and they will integrate solar pannels (for electricty and hot water) into the roofing system. As the projects develop I will keep everyone posted on the developments.
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Last but not least, if you read the large-scale power plants faq on the site, you  already know that Israeli companies have been in the forefront of developing large scale energy systems using parabolic trough collectors.
As in many advanced technologies that Israel exports, implementing these technologies within Israel has been a struggle both on the economic side and there have been various bureaucratic government obstacles.
After many years of delays, early this year the Israel Ministry of National Infrastructure issued the application for the first tender for developing large scale solar power stations for the production of electricity. The solar power plants will be constructed at Ashelim in the Negev. Many companies around the world have shown an interest in this tender. Let’s hope that the project stays on course and part of our electric needs will be generated by these new plants.
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If anyone has started the process of purchasing a home solar system, please let me know. I am sure everyone would like to know the exact steps and procedures that are actually involved in buying and installing these systems in Israel. Thanks!
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It is time to end this long first posting.
Feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

Until next week…….

Shabbat Shalom,

Welcome to the Solar Energy in Israel Blog

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to the Solar Energy in Israel Blog.

The purpose of the weekly blog is to update you with developments in the solar energy field in Israel and to let you know of additions made to the Solar Energy in Israel website.

Feedback, comments and suggestions are always welcome.

You can read the blog updates three ways:

1. On the website -

2. Via a newsreader (Subscribing to the RSS feed)

3. Via the weekly email Newsletter

Looking forward to keeping you informed.

Have a good day,