Israel’s plan to recover from Covid-19 crisis includes 2 GW of new solar

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Israel’s Ministry of Energy has announced a new energy and water infrastructure plan to help the country’s economy to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plan will require a total investment of ILS25 billion ($7.1 billion), of which ILS6.5 billion will be used to fund the deployment of 2 GW of additional PV capacity across the country. In order to support these plans, the government will devote ILS500 million in state guarantees to support project development.

In addition, the Israeli government said it will try to remove barriers to facilitate rapid and efficient development, while improving the grid-connection process for projects.

In the new plan, the government also mentioned the procurement exercise for the 300 MW Dimona solar power plant in the Negev desert. It said the area may host up to 500 MW of PV capacity, and that mobilized investments may reach ILS1 billion.

The tender was launched in January and then questioned a month later, due to disagreements between the Israel Land Administration – which supervises 93% of Israeli territory owned by the state and leased to occupiers – and the solar sector. The authorities were concerned that the planned solar facility would occupy land needed for sand mining, which would thus pose a threat to local industry. The procurement exercise, however, is still ongoing.

At the end of 2019, Israel had around 1.19 GW of installed PV capacity, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. Developers installed about 120 MW of new solar capacity in the country last year.

The country supports PV development through tenders for large-scale projects and an incentive scheme for rooftop PV that includes net-metering and feed-in tariffs.

* article was amended on May 4 to specify that the tender for the MW Dimona solar project was canceled, as we had previously reported. The tender is still ongoing and its capacity is currently 500 MW.