Israel-based Sunday Energy said this week it had closed a deal to build the largest rooftop solar installation in the Middle East, according to a report from Cleantech Group. Though the plant’s capacity is just 1MW, for Israel it is the beginning of a new solar market, according to Sunday Energy founder and CEO Kobi Dinar. By 2020, the country hopes to reach 20% of energy supplied by renewable sources.
“Israel is an advanced country, but in solar energy Israel is definitely very late in the game,” Dinar told the Cleantech Group. “The government announced a feed-in tariff for solar energy only last July.”
Sunday is installing the solar system on 15,000m2 of rooftop on the Yavneh, Israel, factory owned by Nevada-based geothermal developer, Ormat Technologies. The project is expected to be completed in the first half of 2010. After, it is expected to generate $15 million worth of energy over the next 20 years through a power-purchase agreement with Israel Electric Cooperative, the state-owned utility that is the sole supplier of electricity in the country.
Israel Electric will pay 50¢/kW-hour for solar installations up to 50kW—four times more than the current price of electricity for consumers. The tariff for installations larger than 50kW but smaller than 5 MW is still being decided, but it’s expected to be around 40 cents. Currently, Israeli tariffs guarantee a return of about 12 to 15% for 20 to 25 years.
Sunday has installed less than 1MW to date, but has 55MW worth of signed deals in the pipeline. The company expects to install between 4MW and 6MW before the end of 2009, and 15MW next year.
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