Israel is now set to enter the thermo-solar arena, in a big way. Financing has been announced for the purpose of constructing the first thermo-solar field in Israel, at Ashelim in the Negev. The cost of constructing the field is estimated at NIS 2.9 billion (about US$850M). The financing package amounts to NIS 2.35 billion; the rest of the financing will be in the form of equity investment by the shareholders.
The financial bodies participating are Bank Hapoalim, together with the European Investment Bank and eight other financial institutions: Israel Discount Bank, First International Bank of Israel, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, Union Bank of Israel, Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services Ltd., Menorah Mivtachim Holdings Ltd., Psagot Investment House Ltd., and The Phoenix Holdings Ltd., have closed a financing deal with thermo-solar energy company Magalim Solar Energy, owned by Alstom of France (25.05%),BrightSource Energy (25.05%), and the Noy fund (49.9%).
The project is on a BOT (build, operate, transfer) basis under a franchise agreement with the state. It consists of the design, construction and operation of a thermo-solar power plant using sun tower technology with an output of 121 megawatts (equivalent to the power consumption of a medium-size city in Israel). The franchise period is three years for construction and 25 years operation, during which period Israel Electric Corporation has undertaken to buy all of the plant’s output.
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