Israel signed a deal to build a 4 billion shekel ($1.05 billion) thermo-solar power plant in the country’s south, aimed at boosting electricity production from renewable energy sources, the Finance Ministry said on Sunday.
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The 121 megawatt plant, which will also be able to store electricity, will be built by a consortium of Israel’s Housing & Construction Limited and Spain’s Abengoa in Ashalim in the Negev desert near another solar plant.
The plant, to be built under a build, operate and transfer program, is expected to come online in the first half of 2018, the ministry said.
Both plants – along with a planned photovoltaic power plant nearby – will provide 2% of total electricity production in Israel, which has a target of 10% coming from renewable sources by 2020.
They will be financed by the European Investment Bank and the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
The ministry said it plans to publish a tender for another plant to help it meet its renewable energy goal.
Thermo-solar plants differ from photovoltaic plants because they do not convert sunlight into electricity. Instead, they focus on the sun’s rays to produce heat and drive a conventional generator.