The Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has approved a $250 million loan to Negev Energy-Ashalim Thermo-Solar, Ltd. to support construction of a 110 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Israel’s Negev Desert.
This will be the first CSP facility to receive funding support from OPIC, the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. Due to thermal storage capability and other efficiency improvements, the capacity of a CSP plant can be more than twice that of a solar photovoltaic plant. This renewable source of power generation will be one of the first large-scale alternative energy facilities in Israel, and helps both OPIC and the Obama Administration’s own goals to support renewable energy projects, as well as Israel’s own recent commitment to diversify beyond energy generated from fossil fuels.
“This project advances one of OPIC’s key strategic priorities to support the development of renewable resources, and also uses an innovative solar technology,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “The concentrated solar power design used for this plant is exciting, cutting-edge technology that can dramatically increase power generation. This is a project that shows how to provide a tremendously effective source of clean energy in a region dependent on fossil fuel. This is a frontier I’m honored to be entering with OPIC.”
The planned construction of the CSP facility is in Israel’s Negev desert, one of the country’s least developed areas. The Negev Energy-Ashalim project is expected to create hundreds of jobs during construction and employ over one hundred people in both unskilled and technical capacities after the plant’s completion.