Israel's Public Utility Authority approved another 114 megawatt (MW) quota for new midsize and large photovoltaic fields, making it the largest solar energy quota authorized since 2011. The quota, approved Oct. 19, will be available to all commercial solar power producers as of Jan. 1, 2016, and is expected to prompt the construction of “hundreds of new commercial facilities,” the PUA said. For the first time, the new quota will be allocated through a variable, 20-year buy-back scheme at tariffs ranging from 0.27 (7 cents) to 0.31 shekels (8 cents) per kilowatt-hour.
Bids from developers at the lower tariff will be prioritized for acceptance, the PUA said in an Oct. 25 statement. The change is aimed at increasing competition within the sector and reducing consumer electricity rates. The quotas's approval is part of a 2014 government plan to promote renewable power production, the PUA said. About 300 megawatts' worth of midsize photovoltaic fields and 200 megawatts' worth of large fields are under construction, including a massive solar-thermal project at Ashalim, that will increase solar-sourced electricity supply to 7 percent of national demand by 2017, the PUA noted (141 ECR, 7/23/15). The PUA's announcement is available, in Hebrew, at http://bit.ly/1PNY1u1