The Public Utility Authority (PUA) granted the Bedouin community in the Negev a license for a photovoltaic installation. This is the first license given in Israel for a solar project involving the Bedouin community.
The $30 million installation will be established on private land and some 80% of the costs will be funded by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) of the US government.
"This is a dream come true for the Bedouin population. Solar energy will create jobs for Bedouins in the Negev," a community leader said.
Bedouin entrepreneurship for solar energy (Photo: Hannah Schafer)
The contract with Arava Power Company, to build an eight-megawatt solar field on 37 acres of land, was signed in 2010. In the past year, five contracts were signed with Bedouin families to build solar projects which will produce 31 megawatts.
Yosef Abramowitz, president of the Arava Power Company, stressed the importance of granting Bedouins permits to operate solar fields: "Bedouins are in a disadvantaged position compared with other landowners," he said.
The Arava Power Company was the first to launch a commercial solar field in Israel in 2005, with a plan to produce over 400 megawatts, comprising an investment of approximately $1.5 billion.
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