Solar energy park Ashalim will be the biggest project of the kind in Israel when accomplished in 2017-18. It will consist of a PV plant, a CSP plant and a central tower CSP plant with a total capacity of around 300 MW (about 2% of Israel‘s energy consumption). The construction started in June 2015 in the western part of the Negev desert near the kibbutz of Ashalim, 35 km from the city of Be’er Sheva (Southern District).
Ashalim site A (CSP) — 110 MW
The site A of Ashalim is a CSP power plant with a capacity of 110 MW. At first it was built by Negev Energy, a special purpose vehicle of Spanish Abengoa (50%) and Israeli infrastructure group Shikun & Binui (50%), according to the results of a tender held by the State of Israel.
The project is worth about USD1 bln of investments granted by several financial development institutions including Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), European Investment Bank, as well as Israel-based Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim. Project financing was closed in early summer 2015.
In April 2016 Shikun & Binui told in a release that a new contract was signed, envisaging that Abengoa transfers its stake in the project to Israel-based investment facility NOY Infrastructure & Energy (40%) and Spanish engineering company TSK Group (10%). The parties assured this deal would have no influence on the terms of construction.
All energy produced by Ashalim A will be sold to Israel Electricity Corporation under a 25-year PPA signed in late 2013, and will be enough for the needs of about 120 thou Israeli households. The site A of the Ashalim project will have a thermal storage, and be able to work for 4.5 hours without sunlight.
Ashalim site B (CSP with central tower) — 121 MW
Megalim Solar Power was the winner of the tender for the second 121 MW CSP site of the Ashalim project. Megalim is a special purpose company of French Alstom (25.05%), US-based BrightSource Energy (25.05%) and investment fund NOY Infrastructure & Energy (49.9%).
In November 2013 a PPA agreement was signed, and in mid-summer 2014 the developer obtained financing from European Investment Bank and Israel’s biggest Bank Hapoalim. The site B will cost about ILS3 bln (USD780 mln) of investments and will be by 80% financed by the two banks. The cornerstone ceremony was held by Megalim Solar Power in June 2015.
The project is to be accomplished by early 2017. Alstom is responsible for EPC and O&M during the first 25 years. BrightSource supplies CSP equipment including 50 thou heliostats and optical concentrating devices.