Israel lines up 500 MW solar PV tender

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The Finance Ministry of Israel is lining up a tender for the development of a 500 MW solar PV project in the country’s southern Negev Desert, reports Reuters.

In what would be the largest solar development in the country and one of the largest in the world, the project is to be handled as a Public Private Partnership that will see the winning company fund, build and operate the solar farm for a pre-determined period before handing it over to the state.

An area of land near to the town of Dimona has already been identified for the solar installation. Details of whether it would be a single solar farm or a collection of smaller arrays are unclear at this stage, but the government is poised to publish further details regarding the pre-qualification round in the coming months.

Israel’s Finance Ministry has also revealed details of an additional 40 MW solar PV plant planned for the nearby town of Ashalim. Planned for operation in 2018, ten groups have already been approved to take part in a tender to win the rights for the plant’s development.

The country is targeting 10% renewables penetration by 2020, and solar PV is set to play a leading role in this transition. In August the Israeli Knesset – the house of government – approved a bill to eliminate taxes on residential solar installations in an effort to support distributed sources of renewable power.