Israel may lift land restrictions for large-scale solar


The scheme for Israel's budgetary bill, just made public by the new government, includes the cancellation of the limit set by the national zoning committee. This limit has been blocking land allocations for ground-mounted PV for two years now.

“Until now, there has been a limit of 2,000 hectares imposed by the national zoning committee,” Eitan Parnass, the director of the Green Energy Association of Israel, told pv magazine.

The area limit is equivalent to about 2 GW of ground-mounted PV capacity. It applies to all utility-scale solar installations.

“It had already been exhausted when introduced and was a way for the national zoning committee to freeze land development,” Parnass said.

Now, this limit is supposed to fall. Hearings are now taking place and Parnass expects a final decision in March.

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Back in September, the Israeli parliament approved exemptions for floating PV projects, for which there is 2 GW to 3 GW of potential, especially on water reservoirs. Zoning plans are not needed to build them – just a building permit. Projects up to 16 MW in size are now also exempt from this, along with rooftop systems up to 700 kW in size.

“Today, Israel generates 10% of its electricity from renewable energy,” said Parnass.

The country mainly has PV at its disposal, with around 5 GW already installed. The renewables target is 20% of generation by 2025 and 30% by 2030. Extrapolated from today's situation, this corresponds to about 17 GW of solar generation.

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