The Israeli solar energy industry is blaming government bureaucracy for its sluggish progress.
The Arab oil nations of the world have geopolitically isolated the Jewish Country since its founding.
This is not news.
So, in the green era that we are living in, it is not that Israel’s unpopularity in the Arab world does not provide an energy incentive. It does. What’s the hold-up?
The location of the country, so near to the equator, leaves us to question why we seem to be straddling behind everyone else in solar energy usage and development.
While not necessarily strapped for natural gas, solar water heaters on homes and buildings account for roughly 3% of Israel’s energy demands. That’s just not enough if we are in a race with North America and Europe (and not enough to bring down the formidable gas price).
â€œSolar for Israel is a survival tactic,â€
Claims Karin Kloosterman of Green Prophet, but
â€œConsumers don’t have the confidence to buy into the idea. I’ve read reports that the Israeli government is trying to back pedal on their commitments and I’m not surprised. Bureaucracy in Israel is a nightmare.”
Rigid disjointedness at the PUA (Public Utilities Authority) is reportedly injuring small Israeli firms: Solar power vendors in Israel still need foreign partners for most bank loans and the PUA still demands opinions of â€œinternational consultantsâ€ for much of the product development process.
Israeli firm, SBY Solutions is threatening to sue the state because the PUA eliminated a requirement that developers of high-voltage solar installations perform overseas projects at first, to obtain licensing. SBY Solutions is currently working on solar projects in Eastern Europe.
According to Neal Ungerleider of Fast Company, Israeli companies catering to small customers are having better luck. MCO Industries signed a $50m deal with the Texas-based Sun Freedom, selling them solar water heaters at $800 a pop. Negev-based, Friendly Energy signed a $23.8m deal to develop photovoltaic panels for an industrial solar farm in Italy.
As far as domestic deals go, last month, the government gave permission to The Clean Wind Farm company to erect 80 large 2.5 megawatt wind turbines. However, some are skeptical that the Jewish Country does not have sufficient wind speeds to â€œsustain a robust wind power industry.â€
Israel’s goal is to generate 10% of electricity from renewable sources by the year 2020. Doubtless, the goal is within-reach, but will it be enough?