Israel launches tender for first phase of 170 MW PV park

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pv magazine has learned that Israel's Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative will announce on Monday the tender of the Timna Solar Park in the region of Eilat in southern Israel.

The aim is to build a 170 MW solar photovoltaic park, said Dorit Davidovich-Banet, CEO of the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative. However, “we are now ready to announce the tender of the first phase of this project concerning 50 MW only. A second and a third tender of an additional 50 MW and 70 MW solar parks respectively will be announced in the following years,” Davidovich-Banet told pv magazine.

Timna Solar Park tender details

The 50 MW Timna Solar Park to be announced today will be located on a 1,000 dunam (1 million square meters) plot of land adjacent to the site of the former Timna Mines, which is approximately 28 kilometers north of the city of Eilat.

Israel applies different support schemes for developing solar energy projects. Winners in the land tender program are decided by the highest bid to the Israeli Land Authority per dunam of land. The winner receives the right to install a PV system and sell the generated electricity to the grid in a fixed tariff set by the Public Utilities Authority (PUA), Israel's electricity market regulator. The Timna Park tender belongs to this category.

The tender will be open to only PV tracker solar systems and the cost of the bid will cover only the acquisition of the land. The winner will receive for the first 25 years a fixed price per generated kilowatt hour (kWh), which has already been determined by the PUA and is about €0.11/kWh.

The Timna Solar Park tender is perhaps the last land tender with a predetermined price per kWh of generated electricity. The Israeli government has made it clear that future tenders will include bidding for the best tariff too.

“The Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative is only the manager of the industrial site,” explained Davidovich-Banet. “Tender bidders will need to submit their bids to the Israeli Land Authority, which is the responsible institution for picking the winner,” she added.

The issue date of the tender is October 19 and will last for six months inviting both local and international developers to submit their bids. “Should an international developer win the bid, it is most certain that they will be asked to cooperate with local developers in the plant's construction,” Davidovich-Banet told pv magazine.

400 MW of renewable energy by 2020

The Eilat Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative is a non-profit public company owned by 16 stakeholders of the Eilat and Arava regions in southern Israel and its vision is to make the Eilat and Arava regions energy independent and free of fossil fuel and carbon emissions by 2020.

The Eilat Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative is also behind the Sun Valley project in the southern Arava, aiming to transform the area into an international knowledge, research and development centre for renewable energy technologies.

To date, the region has already installed 64 MW of solar energy and 44% of its daytime electricity comes from renewable energy, Davidovich-Banet told pv magazine. “By 2020 we aim to have installed 400 MW of renewable energy while in the next two years specifically we plan to also develop many electricity storage projects, like thermal solar heat storage systems, to help us be carbon free during the night too,” she added.

Israel's PV sector has installed about 500 MW in the country and is viewed as a promising destination for solar PV firms. However, the Israeli PV policy landscape is rather complicated, with many various support schemes and details. pv magazine will clear up the confusion and analyze Israel's PV policies and prospects in the forthcoming September issue.

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