Israel Is Building The World’s Tallest Solar Tower To Power 130,000 Households

Israel is constructing the tallest solar tower in the world to prove its renewable energy ambitions.

Credit: Brightsource Energy

More often than not, Israel is in the news because of war-related events. In this case, the nation is being heralded due to an eco-friendly innovation which will supply renewable energy to hundreds of thousands of households.

Times of Israel reports that Israel is constructing the tallest solar tower in the world to prove its renewable energy ambitions. Though it’s starting small, the nation is adopting progressive ideals, setting a goal of generating 10% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020. That is a 2.5% increase.

For the Ashalim solar tower project which is located deep in the Negev desert, three plots of land (and an eventual fourth) will be outfitted with a different type of solar technology. When completed, it will be Israel’s largest renewable energy project to date. Set to be finished by 2018, Ashalim will generate approximately 310 megawatts of power, about 1.6% of the country’s needs. That’s enough for 130,000 households or 5% of the country’s population.

Credit: Brightsource Energy

The project is backed by BrightSource Energy, General Electric (GE) and NOY Infrastructure & Energy Investment Fund. Explained Eran Gartner, chief executive of Megalim Solar Power Ltd. which is building a segment of the project:

“It’s the most significant single building block in Israel’s commitment to CO2 reduction and renewable energy.”

When completed, the centerpiece will be the tallest solar tower in the world, standing 250 meters or 820 feet tall. On 740 acres of land, 50,000 mirrors will be sprawled to focus the sun’s rays onto the tower, where a solar-thermal method will convert it into energy. Heat obtained from the sun will result in a boiler producing steam. This in turn will cause a turbine to spin, generating electricity.

Credit: Brightsource Energy

The second solar-thermal plot will store solar energy even after the sun sets, and the third will host photovoltaic solar technology to produce even more energy. Combining the three technologies means the amount of electricity generated by Ashalim will be comparable to large-scale solar fields in the California and in Chile, says Yaron Szilas, CEO of Shikun & Binui Renewable Energy.

Though the Ashalmi solar power plant is tall, it can’t claim the title of being the largest solar plant. That honor is bestowed upon Dubai’s 1,000-MW CSP project.

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