Israel issues tender for fifth solar energy plant in the Negev desert


The plant is set to start operations in the first quarter of 2027 with an annual capacity of 100 MW to help meet the goal of generating 30% of electricity from renewable energy

Israel is advancing plans to build a fifth solar energy plant at Ashalim in the Negev desert as the government set itself a goal to generate 30 percent of electricity from renewable energy by the end of the decade.

In a joint statement on Thursday, the Finance Ministry, Energy and Infrastructure Ministry, and Israel Electricity Authority announced the tender for the field of photovoltaic panels, which is set to start operations in the first quarter of 2027, and is expected to generate 100 megawatt (MW) a year. In the pre-qualification process, nine companies passed the threshold conditions and will now be able to compete in the tender, according to the statement.

The tender comes after Israel’s fourth solar energy farm at Ashalim, a photovoltaic facility with a power capacity of 40 MW, started operating in July. Another two thermo-solar power fields at Ashalim generate 120 MW per year each and a photovoltaic one supplies 30 MW yearly. Together, the four stations in Ashalim – two thermo-solar power plants and two photovoltaic power plants – supply electricity totaling more than 300 MW yearly, which is less than 2 percent of the annual demand of the Israeli economy for electricity.

Thermo-solar plants take sunlight and transform it into heat before using it for electricity. The photovoltaic (PV) system — the preferred one these days — captures the sun’s rays and converts them directly into electricity.

The operation of the public-private partnership solar farms is part of the government’s ambitious goal to generate 30 percent of the country’s electricity from renewable, i.e., solar energy by 2030, up from a previous target of 17%, as it looks to phase out coal use. The government’s goal is for electricity coming from renewable energies to make up 20% of the total in 2025, versus the current 10%.