Palestine clears way for inaugural 5.7 MW solar plant on the West Bank

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Palestine will welcome its first solar park in the West Bank after its Energy Ministry granted a development license for the creation of a 5.7 MW installation near to the city of Hebron.

Dutch clean energy developer Gigawatt Global Cooperatief UA will work alongside local technology firm Rack Tech to develop the $10 million plant, which is the first to be awarded under the recently introduced tender program.

This program, overseen by the Palestinian Energy Authority, will auction permits for the creation of 10 solar farms up to a maximum size of 10 MW each. The driving force behind this plan is to reduce Palestine’s energy dependency on the Israeli grid, which currently is responsible for supplying power to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Finance for this inaugural solar project will come via U.S. development-finance institution Overseas Private Investment Corp., which will account for around 70% of the project costs. U.S. pension funds are being touted as additional investors, Gigawatt Global president Yosef Abramowitz said.

The Amsterdam-headquartered firm is already in talks with the Palestinian Energy Authority regarding a power purchase agreement (PPA), and should this initial project prove successful Abramowitz has confirmed that is company will seek to build an additional 100 MW of solar in the Palestinian territories between now and 2021.

An additional two solar projects will be tendered by the government in 2016, confirmed a director of energy at the Office for the Quartet, which works to spur economic development throughout Palestine.