Israel has approved construction of an NIS4bn ($1.04bn) thermo-solar power facility in the southern Negev desert to boost its renewable power generation capacity.
Expected to have a capacity of 121MW, the power facility will be developed by Negev Energy, which is a joint venture formed by Spanish Abengoa and Israeli Shikun & Binui.
It will be developed at Ashalim in the Negev desert, and will feature two solar-thermal power stations being implemented under a build, operate and transfer programme.
The solar-thermal project will be financed by the European Investment Bank and US Overseas Private Investment.
Expected to be operational by the first half of 2018, the facility will contribute 2% of the country’s power sources.
With a target to derive 10% of its energy requirements from green power by 2020, Israel intends to develop another renewable energy facility, reports Reuters.
Israel senior deputy accountant general and interministerial tender committee chairman Yariv Nehama was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying: "This agreement is a milestone for renewable energy projects in the country.
"The project is unusual in its scope and technological innovation, which combines capacity with energy storage."
Unlike solar photo-voltaic facilities, thermo-solar plants do not derive power directly from sun rays.
The technology uses the sunlight to generate heat, which is then passed through water to produce steam, leading to renewable power.
Negev Energy had previously signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Israel Electricity in 2013.