Cornerstone laid at one of world’s largest solar-thermal power plants in Israel

Megalim Solar Power, Ltd., a company established by BrightSource Energy, Alstom and the Noy Fund, hosted yesterday a Cornerstone Ceremony in the southern Negev desert region of Israel to celebrate progress on the Ashalim solar project, one of the largest of its kind in the world.

The event was attended by nearly 300 guests, including senior public officials and officers of Megalim, its partners and the company’s board of directors.

Ashalim Solar-Thermal Project

The future power plant is considered as Israel’s flagship in the field of solar energy, and will ultimately have an output of 121 megawatts. Construction completion is expected in late 2017.

The 121 MW Ashalim Plot-B solar-thermal project is expected to supply 320 GWh of electricity annually into Israel’s grid when it is completed in 2017. The project costs are in excess of 3 billion ILS, with 80% of the funding provided by an Israeli banking syndicate led by Bank Hapoalim and by the European Investment Bank.

The Ashalim Plot B power facility is part of the Ashalim solar complex, which includes two solar-thermal projects (Ashalim Plot B and one other) and one photovoltaic projects. In total, these facilities at Ashalim are expected to produce nearly 300 MW of power, about 2% of Israel’s electricity production capacity. They will support the country’s commitment to reach 10% of the country’s electricity production from renewable sources by 2020.

Megalim’s Ashalim Plot B plant is being constructed by a consortium under the leadership of Alstom, a French-based global leader in power generation, and will operate with BrightSource’s innovative solar tower technology, developed to be a source of stable, reliable and responsible renewable energy, in comparison to other renewable energy sources available in the market.

Distinguishing characteristics of the facility include the 240-meter solar tower standing at the center of a 3.15 square kilometer field covered by over 50,000 sun-tracking heliostats with a cumulative surface area of over 1 million square meters.

The plant will supply electricity to about 120,000 households under a power purchase agreement for 25 years with the Israel Electric Corporation.

Beyond the clean energy objectives, the Ashalim Plot B facility will also satisfy the State’s declared objective of bringing economic activity to the Negev region, employing over 1,000 engineers, technicians, construction workers and support services. During the 25 years of planned operation Megalim, through its Operations & Maintenance Contractor, will permanently employ 45 skilled staff members.

Israel Kroizer, Executive Vice President of Engineering and Operations for BrightSource Energy said:

“This is a unique and important project from a technological and other perspectives.  From 2018 onwards, Megalim and the Ashalim Plot B project will deliver a real contribution to the Israel’s diversitfication and de-carbonization of its energy sector.”

Source: Press Release by BrightSource Energy. Featured Image Credit: Warren Gretz / NREL.