Megalim Solar Power wins contract for 121MW Israeli solar thermal plant

  • Megalim Solar Power will finance and build a 121MW solar thermal plant in the Negev Desert, Israel. Image: BrightSource Energy.
    Megalim Solar Power will finance and build a 121MW solar thermal plant in the Negev Desert, Israel. Image: BrightSource Energy.

Megalim Solar Power, a company established by BrightSource Energy and Alstom, has won the bid to build a 121MW solar thermal power plant in Israel. The construction contract was awarded by Israel’s inter-ministerial Tender Committee.

The 121MW BrightSource-Alstom Megalim plant is one of three projects selected under Israel’s Ashalim 250MW solar tender. It will be constructed on a 3.15 km2 site owned by the Ramat Negev Regional Council in the Negev Desert.

As part of the contract, Megalim will plan, finance, construct, operate and maintain the power plant for 25 years, after which it will transfer ownership to the State of Israel. The project is scheduled to become operational in 2017.

Commenting on the win, Israel’s Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Energy and Water said: "The principal advantage of [BrightSource’s] solar thermal technology is its high reliability which enables it to constitute a real substitute to conventional power plants which consume fossil fuels, as opposed to some other renewable energy technologies."

In addition to the 121MW project, the Ashalim tender also includes another CSP plant and one PV plant. When all three projects come online, they will account for an estimated 2% of Israel’s installed PV capacity. The projects will also help the country to achieve its goal of generating 10% of its electricity demand from renewable energy sources by 2020.

The accountant General at Israel’s Ministry of Finance, Michal Abadi-Boyanjo, congratulated the parties and the government on the award and said: “The construction of solar thermal plant in Ashalim will be another important step towards the implementation of the governmental targets for the production of electricity from renewable resources, while leveraging the creativity and innovativeness of the private sector, as reflected in the tenders promoted by the Accountant General Department”.

BrightSource is currently developing the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (Ivanpah SEGS) in California’s Mojave Desert. The US$2.2 billion CSP project will utilise BrightSource’s solar thermal power tower technology which uses heliostats to reflect the sun’s energy to a boiler atop a tower in order to produce high temperature and high-pressure steam. The steam is then integrated with conventional power plant components to produce “clean” energy.

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