Palestine to bring online its first PV plant, at 7.5 MW

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The Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF) has announced construction of Palestine’s first PV power station will be wrapped up next month. The 7.5 MW Noor (light) Jericho site, is part of a 200 MW program, dubbed Noor Palestine, PIF is working to bring online.

Palestinian news agency Wafa reported PIF will bring more capacity online to hit the 200 MW mark in eight years’ time. To that end, PIF is tapping the resources of infrastructure investment company Massader. Once the full capacity is online, the Palestinian authorities hope to reduce dependence on Israeli energy imports by 17%. According to the announcement, Palestine at the moment draws nearly 98% of its energy from Israel.

The Noor Jericho plant will be the first to go online under the Noor Palestine project and, with a generation capacity of 7.5 MW, will be largest. The Noor Tubas site, with 4 MW, and the 5 MW Noor Jenin project are also parts of the Noor Palestine plan. Because land is scarce in Palestine, a significant chunk of the 200 MW portfolio will be built on rooftops. The Palestinian authorities claim to have identified 500 school rooftop sites. The rooftop projects would add up to 35 MW of capacity when finalized and the timeline for deployment is three years, according to PIF.

“The electricity produced from the program will cover the involved schools’ electricity bills, based on a net metering scheme,” stated the PIF announcement. “Massader will sell the excess electricity to Palestine’s electricity distribution companies at competitive rates. Projections for the program show that electricity prices from this program will be 5% less than current medium voltage prices on the Israeli market.”

A 200 MW ambition

Total investment in the Noor Palestine solar program is expected to reach $200 million, to unlock further potential and follow through with the 200 MW plan.

Wafa reported work on the 7.5 MW Noor Jericho solar park started six months ago with installation carried out by Palestinian contracting firms and supervised by Jordanian business E-Res. Work on the site is set for completion next month. The electricity will be distributed by the Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO), which also provides power to Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho.

JDECO has already found off-takers for the power from the Noor Jericho site: the Istishari Hospital, the Birzeit Pharmaceutical company and the National Bank, all in Ramallah.

The Noor Jericho solar park decreases the need for energy imports by $1.25 million per annum, resulting in $31 million savings over the 25-year service life of the plant. The savings will be used for more alternative energy programs.

“The whole idea here is to diversify the sources of energy without doing away with the current sources, mainly diesel fuel, which so far remain a main source of energy in Palestine,” said PIF chairman Mohammad Mustafa.