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Solar Energy: Unleashing the Power of the Sun!

With 300+ sunny days, Israel should have a bright future in solar energy... What's holding us up?

Israel’s renewables, mainly solar powered, are only 6% of the total energy supply. This month (June 2023), the Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD), released its second Environmental Performance Review (the first was in 2011). The report notes that the level of renewably-sourced energy in Israel is the second lowest among the 38 OECD Member Nations.

Israel’s Slow Solar Progress

Despite being a sunny country, Israel has yet to fully embrace solar energy as a significant alternative to conventional power sources. While solar energy offers numerous advantages such as reliance on a renewable energy source, significant pollution reduction, and increased energy resilience, there have been some drawbacks. Issues like low efficiency, high costs, limited availability during nighttime and certain winter days, and the need for large areas of open space for installations have slowed Israel’s progress to full utilization of abundant sunshine.

A Brighter Future for Solar Energy

The good news is that technological advancements and commercial applications of solar photovoltaic technology have paved the way for significant improvements.

  • Solar panel efficiency has increased, meaning more electricity can be generated from each square meter.
  • The cost of solar installations has decreased over time, making it a more economically viable option.
  • Electricity storage technologies have improved, enabling the harnessing of solar power even when the sun isn’t shining.
  • Israel has identified many built-up areas that are suitable for dual-use solar installations, such as rooftops of houses and commercial buildings, maximizing the utilization of space.

The Potential of Solar Energy in Israel

Some believe that Israel has insufficient land space for solar energy installations. According to estimates, to achieve the goal of 30% renewable energy production by 2030, around 25,000 acres of land would be needed, while the potential available land is approximately 44,400 acres. The Ministry of Energy also estimates that existing built-up areas, including rooftops, water reservoirs, roads, and parking lots, have the potential to generate a staggering 46% of Israel’s electricity consumption. This amounts to an installed capacity of 18 gigawatts, producing about 30 terawatt hours annually. By 2050, this capacity could potentially reach 43-81 gigawatts, accounting for 40-83% of Israel’s expected electricity consumption.

Paving the Way for a Solar-Powered Future

At Adam Teva V’Din we believe that a breakthrough in solar energy adoption depends on when the current government is ready to act on the following: Firstlly upgrading of the national electricity grid should be prioritized, including budgeting and approving plans to support increased renewable energy targets. Storage systems should be integrated into planning procedures, with clear regulations and tariff frameworks in place. Dual-use solar electricity production must be supported through planning regulations and incentives. Mechanisms should be created to facilitate the implementation of solar roofs in apartment buildings, enabling financial solutions and tax benefits. Importantly,, synchronization among various government bodies is crucial to streamline regulatory processes and ensure a coordinated approach to promoting solar energy.

Collaboration between the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Finance, and other relevant agencies is necessary to overcome bureaucratic obstacles and implement effective policies.

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The OECD Environmental Performance Review notes that the level of renewably-sourced energy in Israel is the second lowest among the 38 OECD Member Nations.

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