Israel’s Public Utility Authority has awarded licences to build two solar thermal power plants with a combined capacity of 180MW, reports Reuters.
The larger of the plants has a capacity of 120MW and is being installed by Israel’s largest construction firm, Shikun & Binui. The contract for the smaller, 60MW station was handed out to a subsidiary of US investment company Two Sigma.
State officials did not disclose the cost of the plants, but did reveal that they are due to come online in 2017 and will cater for around 0.5% of the country's energy requirements.
“It's a significant step that will allow Israeli citizens to enjoy clean energy on a large scale for the first time,” Energy Minister Uzi Landau said.
Due to its high irradiance levels Israel has long been at the forefront of developing solar technology, but these licences are the first for solar thermal plants. The government hopes they will help Israel achieve its goal of generating 10% of electricity via renewables by 2020.